Vision Problems Linked to Employment

Pharmacy Times, August 2014 Pain Awareness, Volume 80, Issue 8

Individuals with vision impairment may be more likely to be unemployed, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, published online on July 17, 2014, in JAMA Ophthalmology, analyzed data from 19,849 participants of the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who completed a vision examination as well as employment and demographic questionnaires.

The results indicated that patients with impaired vision were significantly less likely to be employed than those with normal vision. Only 58.7% of men with vision impairment were employed, compared with 66.5% of those with uncorrected refractive error and 76.2% of those with normal vision. The association was stronger among women. Just 24.5% of women with visual impairment were employed, compared with 56% of those with uncorrected refractive error and 62.9% of those with normal vision.

After adjusting for age, sex, race, and chronic diseases, both uncorrected refractive error and visual impairment were associated with an increased likelihood of unemployment. Visual impairment was associated with even higher odds of unemployment among women, patients younger than 55 years, and those with diabetes.

“It is quite possible that [uncorrected refractive error] is the result of limited income from not working,” the study authors note.