Visual impairment study reveals troublesome findings

People who are visual impaired are much more likely to feel depressed and isolated.

Eye exam [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Eye exam [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Some 13% of Israelis ages 20 and above – 15% of women and 12% of men, or about 710,000 people – are visually impaired, according to a survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics released ahead of Israel’s National Blind Day, observed this year on June 6.
Of those, some 570,000 or 11% have mild visual impairment, while approximately 140,000 or 2.5%, suffer severe visual impairments, including total blindness, according to the findings.
Unsurprisingly, the percentage of visually impairment rises with age, with 44% of those aged 75 and above having some sort of visual impairment, of which 30% is mild and 14% is severe.
The rate of severe visual impairment is higher among those with less educational background; among those who are 20 through 64 years old without a matriculation certificate, the rate of visual impairment is 1.5 times greater than it is in the rest of the population.
Similarly, the rate of employment among those in the same age group with severe visual impairments is 57%, compared to 76% among those without such impairments.
The report also found that 68% of severely visually impaired people who are employed are satisfied with their jobs and 52% are satisfied with their income. That compares to 87% and 59% respectively among the rest of population.
The report revealed some troublesome findings, mainly that one in four people with a severe visual impairment feel isolated and alone and 24% often feel depressed, compared to 6% among the rest of the population.
Furthermore, the findings indicated that 73% of people with a severe visual impairment were satisfied with their lives and 32% believe their lives will improve in the future, compared to 89% and 55% respectively among the general population.