Importance: Visual impairment (VI) affects more than 9 million Americans age 65 yr and older, and it limits meaningful participation in daily living. Occupational therapy can have a considerable impact on the functional performance of those with VI; however, information is limited on the existing occupational therapy services available for older adults with VI across the United States.
Objective: To calculate the prevalence of VI by U.S. county and quantify and locate the existing occupational therapy practitioners with certification in vision rehabilitation.
Design: Synthetic estimation was used to calculate the prevalence of VI among those age 65 yr and older in the United States by county. Geographic Information Systems mapping was used to illustrate the prevalence of VI and availability of occupational therapy practitioners with specialized training in vision rehabilitation by U.S. town.
Results: Communities with high concentrations of older adults with VI were more prevalent in the center of the United States, whereas occupational therapy practitioners with specialty training in vision rehabilitation were concentrated primarily on the east coast of the United States, on both Florida coasts, in selected cities in Texas and California, in western Pennsylvania, and in Alabama.
Conclusions and Relevance: The availability of occupational therapy practitioners with specialty training in vision rehabilitation does not match the visual rehabilitation needs of older adults in the United States. These findings can be used to prioritize efforts for new service provision, provide outreach to underserved populations, and guide occupational therapy education to improve access to vision rehabilitation throughout the United States.
What This Article Adds: The data provided in this study can inform resource allocation, workforce development, and entry-level occupational therapy education to address the ongoing needs of older adults with VI.