PURPOSE: To provide a state-level prediction of the future burden of visual impairment and its causes in adults in the state of Georgia through 2050, accounting for age and race demographics.
DESIGN: A population prevalence projection study.
METHODS: Population data were obtained from the Georgia Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, stratified by age and race and applied to the Prevent Blindness America eye disease prevalence values. Prevalence of overall vision impairment and of blindness were calculated, in addition to the most common diseases.
RESULTS: In Georgia in 2050, there will be an estimated 226,000 visually impaired persons, and nearly 100,000 will be blind. Of those who are visually impaired or blind, 65% will be age 80 or older. There will be a greater than 350% projected increase in visual impairment in those 80 and older by 2050. A projected 1.7 million cases of cataract, 2.3 million of refractive error, over 250,000 cases of glaucoma, and 117,000 cases of macular degeneration will be present. The total caseload of diabetic retinopathy in adults age 40 and older is expected to increase by 150% between 2015 and 2040.
CONCLUSION: The aging population and racial demographics impact projections for future eye disease burden, causing state-level projections to vary from national levels. As the demand for eye services increases, states must have individualized projections to evaluate the unique challenges they will face and prepare for enhanced service delivery, educational campaigns, and advocacy that match the need for their state.