"This study gives us a GPS for our nation's future eye health," said principal investigator Rohit Varma from University of Southern California in the US.

By 2050, the number of Americans with a variety of eye disease and impairment issues, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (DR) and cataracts, will dramatically increase impacting both individuals and society, the study said.

The researchers found that more than two million Americans over age 40 will be blind and 6.95 million will have visual impairment by 2050 compared to 1.02 million and 3.22 million respectively from 2015 census data.

"Increased education and vision screenings are critical for both younger and older Americans, but especially women and minorities over age 40, to prevent vision impairment that can dramatically worsen their quality of life," Varma noted.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology."The earlier we can diagnose these blinding eye diseases through an annual eye exam and obtain eye care, the more people will have the chance to live longer lives without the physical limitations and emotional challenges of vision loss and blindness,"  Varma noted.

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