The Prevalence of Refractive Errors Among Adults in the United States, Western Europe, and Australia

  • The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalence of refractive errors in persons 40 years and older.

  • Six studies provided data from 29 281 persons. In the US, Western European, and Australian year 2000 populations 40 years or older, the estimated crude prevalence for hyperopia of +3 D or greater was 9.9%, 11.6%, and 5.8%, respectively (11.8 million, 21.6 million, and 0.47 million persons).

  • For myopia of −1 D or less, the estimated crude prevalence was 25.4%, 26.6%, and 16.4% (30.4 million, 49.6 million, and 1.3 million persons), respectively, of whom 4.5%, 4.6%, and 2.8% (5.3 million, 8.5 million, and 0.23 million persons), respectively, had myopia of −5 D or less. Projected prevalence rates in 2020 were similar.

  • Refractive errors affect approximately one third of persons 40 years or older in the United States and Western Europe, and one fifth of Australians in this age group.

Publication date

April 16, 2019


Arch Ophthalmol

Sponsor Institution

National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health and Prevent Blindness America


The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group
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