Vision Impairment and Social Determinants of Health

Impact Brief – February 2023

The rates of vision impairment and blindness in Southwest Virginia (SWVA) are several times higher than in other areas of the state and nation.[1] In collaboration with the CDC Vision Health Initiative, NACDD recently initiated a study at the University of Virginia to validate and explore the causes of such high rates of vision impairment and blindness in SWVA, a tri-county area within the Appalachian region of the U.S. Findings from previous national studies have shown that vision impairment is linked to social determinants of health, such as income, education and access to care.[2]

As a result, the newly launched study will focus on better understanding the interplay between these types of factors and vision loss among the population living in SWVA. By better understanding these important connections, more effective interventions can be developed to improve the quality of life among those with vision impairment or blindness.

For more information about the NACDD Vision and Eye Health Initiative, please visit:


[2] Su NH, Moxona NR, Wang A, French DD. Associations of social determinants of health and self-reported visual difficulty: analysis of the 2016 National Health Interview Survey. Ophthalmic Epidemiology. 2020;27(2):93ā€“97.

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