The premier source of information on eye diseases and eye health is the Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vision Health initiative and NORC at the University of Chicago developed the National Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS). VEHSS' goals include identifying and collecting existing sources of information on vision and eye health, defining conditions to provide consistent analyses, and analyzing data to estimate the prevalence of eye disabilities and disorders, the use of eye care services and health disparities in eye health treatment and outcomes.
The ultimate goal for VEHSS is to use modeling methodologies to combine estimates from different datasets to create what we are calling composite estimates. This summer the first sets of composite estimates were released: the prevalence of vision loss and the economic burden of vision loss.
The composite prevalence estimates for vision loss and blindness are based on an updated review of published population examination studies, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which was analyzed using modern imputation methodology, and two self-reported surveys. The researchers use the examination studies to "set the level" of vision loss or blindness for the specific population, location, and point in time in which they were measured, and then they use variation
in patterns of self-reported blindness or difficulty seeing to predict vision loss in different geographic areas, among population groups that were missing in the examination studies, and then the final step is to update to represent the 2017 US population. Here are links to the composite prevalence estimates:
The VEHSS combines different data sources, including national surveys, examination-based studies, electronic health records and registries which includes the Academy's IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), and administrative claims records. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/data/index.html
National Surveys include the American Community Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Health Interview Study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the National Survey of Children's Health. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/data/national-surveys/index.html
Examination-based studies provide the gold standard data for assessing tool population prevalence, because they include patients who do not access the health care system and who would otherwise have been undiagnosed. The diseases covered by these studies include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, uncorrected refractive error, cataract, vision impairment and blindness, and retinopathy of prematurity. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/data/studies/index.html
Electronic health records (EHR) and EHR-based clinical data registries are a newer data source that can be utilized to evaluate health outcomes. The IRIS Registry is the only clinical data registry currently included in the VEHSS. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/data/studies/index.html
Administrative claims databases provide service utilization data, based on insurance claims and payment information, and can capture services provided by non-eye care clinicians. The VEHSS currently includes claims data from Medicare, Medicaid, MarketScan and VSP Global. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/data/claims/index.html
All of these data sources can be explored for the individual states or the nation as a whole, and evaluated on eye health condition or service utilization topics.
The VEHSS reports and publications include overviews of national survey data, claims and registry data, literature review of examination-based studies, categorization system for diagnoses and disease prevalence, a survey analysis plan, and a claims and registry analysis plan. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/reports/index.html
The VEHSS also worked with CDC to create a new set of economic burden estimates, and these are housed on a separate site called the Vision Loss Economic Explorer. This includes costs attributable to self-assessed vision loss, and it does not capture costs for routine vision care, nor for eye diseases that do not or have not yet caused vision loss.