Largest Study of Chinese Americans published in Ophthalmic Epidemiology finds risk factors for vision impairment include age, education, acculturation and diabetes

LOS ANGELES—Oct. 17, 2019—CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC), a hospital that is a member of CHA Health Systems, a global network providing a full spectrum of dynamic healthcare services, today announced publication of a study by Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, director of its Southern California Eye Institute, assessing risk factors for vision impairment in Chinese Americans. The largest study on Chinese Americans to date, “Factors Associated with Visual Impairment in Chinese American Adults: The Chinese American Eye Study” was published in Ophthalmic Epidemiology.

The study found that age and self-reported history of ocular disease were most strongly associated with vision loss. Additional risk factors included low education, low acculturation and self-reported history of diabetes. Acculturation is a risk factor unique to Chinese Americans, while the other four risk factors have also been found in studies of other minority groups.

“Most Americans consider losing vision and going blind more frightening than other diseases, and people with vision loss may become socially disengaged, isolated or depressed,” Dr. Varma said. “By identifying the risk factors for Chinese Americans – the largest minority group outside of Latinos and the fastest-growing group of Asians – we can develop targeted screening programs to reduce the personal and economic burden of vision impairment in this population.”

Specific study results include:

  • Participants 70 years and older were 10 times as likely to have vision loss compared to those in their 50s.
  • Individuals with a history of ocular disease were more than 4 times as likely to have vision loss.
  • Additional risk factors included low education (almost 3 times as likely), low acculturation (almost 6 times as likely) and self-reported history of diabetes (2 times as likely).
  • Acculturation is a risk factor unique to Chinese Americans, while other factors – including age, history of eye disease, education and history of diabetes – also have been found to predict vision impairment in Latinos, Blacks, Whites and other Asian populations.

Data were collected as part of the National Eye Institute-funded Chinese American Eye Study (CHES), the largest ophthalmology study among those with Chinese ancestry living in the U.S. The population-based study included 4,582 individuals self-identifying as Chinese Americans aged 50 years and older residing in Monterey Park, California. Participants completed an in-home interview followed by a comprehensive eye examination at a local center.

About Southern California Eye Institute
Southern California Eye Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of vision care, using the latest technology and treatments to deliver the best outcome to patients in Los Angeles and from around the world. The institute’s expert physician-scientists are advancing innovations in stem cell and regenerative therapies, artificial intelligence and bioelectronic implants to further the prevention, early detection and treatment of eye diseases and conditions. Founded by world-renowned ophthalmologist Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, SCEI is located in Los Angeles at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. For more information, visit

About CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) is a nationally recognized acute care facility that has cared for Hollywood and its surrounding communities since 1924. Today, CHA HPMC offers comprehensive health care services with a 434-bed acute care facility, including 89 skilled nursing beds. The hospital has a medical staff of more than 500 physicians and specialists, representing 69 specialties and 75 different countries. CHA HPMC embraces the area’s diverse, multicultural patient populations by providing all who walk through its doors quality care in a compassionate manner. It is a member of CHA Health Systems, a dynamic global healthcare organization that provides a full spectrum of services in seven countries around the world, including 25 hospitals and clinics, 30 research and 14 education institutions and 30 bio/pharmaceutical/healthcare companies. For more information, visit

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