U.S. Latinos: Highest Rates of Eye Disease

LOS ANGELES, May 4 (UPI) — Latinos living in the United States are developing vision loss at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, researchers said.

Principal study investigator Dr. Rohit Varma of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles said the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study is finding high rates of eye disease — including diabetic retinopathy and cataracts — and Latinos developing blindness at the highest rate of any ethnic group in the country.

“This study showed that Latinos develop certain vision conditions at different rates than other ethnic groups,” Varma said in a statement. “The burden of vision loss and eye disease on the Latino community is increasing as the population ages and many eye diseases are becoming more common.”

Varma and colleagues examined more than 4,600 Latinos — age 40 and older and mostly of Mexican descent — four years after initially enrolling in the study.

The study, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, found nearly 3 percent of participants developing visual impairment and 0.3 percent developing blindness in both eyes.

Older adults are frequently impacted the most. Almost 20 percent of those age 80 and older have become visually impaired and 3.8 percent have become blind in both eyes, the researchers said.

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