Causes of visual impairment and common eye problems in Northwest American Indians and Alaska Natives.

OBJECTIVES: Little information exists regarding the causes of visual impairment and the most common eye problems in American Indians/Alaska Natives.

METHODS: We randomly sampled American Indians/Alaska Natives older than 40 years from 3 tribes within the Northwest region.

RESULTS: We found a higher prevalence of visual impairment and normal-tension glaucoma, as well as a lower prevalence of ocular hypertension, in American Indians/Alaska Natives compared with previous results in other racial/ethnic groups.

CONCLUSIONS: American Indians/Alaska Natives have a need for vision correction. Future interventions in American Indians/Alaska Natives should include providing spectacles for refractive error, detecting glaucoma, and preventing visual impairment from age-related maculopathy and cataracts.