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Blind black woman crossing the street using a cane
Vision Facts

Vision loss causes a substantial social and economic toll for millions of people including significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life.

Vision loss among our friends, family, and colleagues in SE Michigan
In Michigan, vision loss costs over $11,430 per person each year in terms of medical care, supportive services, and productivity.
A graphic illustrating the number of individuals with vision loss in GDABVI's seven county service area

Vision loss costs over $11,430 per person each year in terms of medical care, supportive services, and productivity.


Number of people with potentially blinding eye diseases (approx. 1 in 4): 1,159,317


Overall number of people

Who are blind: 15,259

With any vision loss: 92,634


Individuals 55 and over

Who are blind: 12,262

With any vision loss: 63,949

Illustration of four individuals, three are gray and one is blue. Beside the four figures is an illustration of an apple, the silhouette of a house, and an illustration of a plain white T-shirt.
1 in 4 individuals reaching out to GDABVI are seeking help with basic needs.
African American child's fingertips reading braille
Vision loss among children in GDABVI's 7-county service area:

Children (ages 0-17)

Who are blind: 541

With any vision loss: 7,260

Image of an analog clock set at 11:55
GDABVI dedicated over 1,200 contact hours to helping clients regain their independence through vision rehabilitation services in 2019.
The national impact of vision loss & impairment
  • The annual economic impact of major vision problems among the adult population 40 years and older is more than $145 billion.

  • The major causes of vision loss are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

  • Scientific evidence shows that early detection and treatment can prevent many cases of blindness and vision impairment.

  • Anxiety or depression affects 1 in 4 adults with vision loss. For younger adults with vision loss, the risk is nearly 5 times higher than in adults 65 and older.

  • Addressing social determinants such as income, education, food insecurity, and access to care can help us reach vision health equity.

Impact & Need
Our handy Impact & Need Report summarizes the information on this web page in a concise and easy-to-share format. Download the one-pager here.
2022 Impact One-Pager.png

The Courtesy Rules of Blindness


When you meet me, don't be ill at ease. It will help us both if you remember these simple points of courtesy:


  1. I'm an ordinary person, just blind. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want—"Cream in the coffee?"—ask me.

  2. If I am walking with you, don't grab my arm; let me take yours. I'll keep a half-step behind, to anticipate curbs and steps.

  3. I want to know who's in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include children, and tell me if there's a cat or a dog. Guide my hand to a chair.

  4. The door to a room, a cabinet, or a car, left partially open, is a hazard to me.

  5. At dinner I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.

  6. Don't avoid words like "see." I use them too. I'm always glad to see you.

  7. I don't want pity. But don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more, and therefore may get more information through those senses than you do—that's all.

  8. If I'm your houseguest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—the light switch too. I like to know whether the lights are on.

  9. I'll discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other interests as you do.

  10. Don't think of me as just a blind person. I'm a person who happens to be blind.

Courtesy Rules


Vision & Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vision Health Initiative. "Any vison loss" is defined as 20/40 and blindness as 20/200.


Vision Loss Economics Explorer.


Social Determinants of Health, Health Equity, and Vision Loss.

Courtesy Rules of Blindness:

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