Prevent Blindness Launches Multiple Efforts to Provide Education and Resources on the Effects of Vision Loss and Blindness on Mental Health

September 18, 2023

Because individuals with vision loss can experience a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues as compared to their sighted peers, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has engaged experts from around the country to raise awareness, provide education and offer newly developed resources for patients, care partners, and healthcare service professionals.

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one in four adults with vision loss reported anxiety or depression. Younger adults with vision loss had almost five times the risk of serious anxiety or depression compared to adults 65 and older. 

“As a patient advocacy organization, we’ve heard for many years from our constituents that one of the biggest challenges of vision loss is how deeply it impacts mental health,” said Julie Grutzmacher, director of patient advocacy and population health initiatives at Prevent Blindness. “Working together with patients, their families and healthcare professionals, we are targeting specific areas for improvement and creating strategies to bring support for those whose mental health is significantly affected from vision impairments.”      

Prevent Blindness recently convened an all-volunteer Mental Health Task Force, consisting of professionals from a variety of fields, including ophthalmology, optometry, social work and clinical psychology, as well as patients experiencing vision loss.  The group created the Vision Loss and Mental Health: Key Takeaways from an Interprofessional Task Force issue brief, and collectively identified opportunities to promote process improvement and advocacy in:

  • vision rehabilitation,
  • resource development and dissemination,
  • training for providers (eye care, primary care and mental health), 
  • developing an integrated eye care model.

The issue brief is intended for policymakers, providers, professionals and program personnel. Funding support for the promotion and dissemination of the mental health issue brief has been provided by Horizon Therapeutics.

As a next step, Prevent Blindness is working with the Task Force to develop training modules geared towards mental health providers.

Through the free Living Well with Low Vision resource, Prevent Blindness offers the “Vision Loss and Mental Wellness” webpage. The site provides detailed steps to support mental health, and a listing of mental health services from a variety of organizations.

For free information on general eye health, please visit For a patient guide, low vision resource directories and the latest news on low vision rehabilitation, research and developments in the treatment of eye disease, and a wide range of other topics, visit


About Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, visit us at, and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Download the brief here.

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