skip navigation

Home » Education » NEHEP » NEHEP Programs » Low Vision » Goals and Objectives , and Prevelance Data

NEHEP Programs

Low Vision

Goals, Objectives, and
Prevalence Data

Low Vision Program Goals

  • Create awareness among children and adults, their families and friends, and the general public about available low vision rehabilitation services.
  • Create awareness among providers who work with children and adults with vision impairments of the potential benefits of low vision rehabilitation services.

Low Vision Program Objectives

  • Develop and implement a new initiative targeted to parents of children with visual impairments.
  • Develop and implement at least three collaborations with organizations that work with people with visual impairments to increase awareness of low vision rehabilitation services.
  • Adapt and/or develop alternative formats for NEI/NEHEP materials for those who have visual impairments.
  • Develop and implement at least one collaboration with healthcare providers to promote the benefits of low vision rehabilitation services.


Low Vision Prevalence Data

Low vision affects more than 2 million Americans and ranks behind only arthritis and heart disease as the reason for impaired daily functioning in Americans over the age of 70.1 Low vision is defined as a visual impairment that is not corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery and that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities. It is most commonly described in terms of remaining visual acuity (central vision) and visual field, peripheral, or side vision.2 Loss in central vision causes difficulty in detail discrimination (e.g., reading and discriminating fine detail and color). Peripheral vision loss causes orientation and mobility problems, such as having difficulty seeing curbs/steps or difficulty seeing in lowlight conditions.

Baseline data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that approximately 14 per 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older with a visual impairment use vision rehabilitation services. According to the same study, 22 percent of people aged 18 and older with visual impairments use visual and adaptive devices.


  1. Swagerty, D. L. Jr. (1995). The Impact of Age-related Visual Impairment on Functional Independence in the Elderly. Kansas Medicine: A Journal of the Kansas Medical Society 96.1 24-26.
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology Vision Rehabilitation Committee. (2001). Preferred Practice Pattern: Visual Rehabilitation For Adults. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology.

*PDF files require the free Adobe® Reader® software for viewing. Attention people with visual disabilities: please visit to work more effectively with PDF files. On this website, a file size will be indicated when exceeding 1M. Need help working with PDF files?


This page was last modified in July 2008

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Institutes of Health