Americans Fear Blindness More Than Heart Disease Survey Finds

NEW YORK – Most Americans fear blindness more than getting heart disease, the primary killer of both men and women in the United States, according to the findings of the “Eye on Eyesight” survey.

The “Eye on Eyesight” survey confirms that a significant fear exists when it comes to losing one’s eyesight, as 60 percent of Americans say they are more frightened by the prospect of going blind than of getting heart disease. The survey was conducted by Surge Research Inc. on behalf of Choice Magazine Listening, a nonprofit organization which produces and distributes audio anthologies of magazine articles, stories, and poetry, professionally narrated and free of charge for the visually impaired and physically disabled.

“Many of us take our vision for granted. The thought of losing abilities that are basic to us, including important day-to-day functions like reading, creates tremendous fear,” said Sondra Mochson, Editor in Chief of Choice Magazine Listening. “Although we hope you’ll never need our free service, we do fill a crucial need by providing access to entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking literature for people who have difficulty reading due to vision loss or other factors.”

The survey shows that the fear of losing one’s eyesight is nearly double that of getting heart disease (63% vs. 37%) for Americans between ages 50 and 64, a group that is at the highest risk not only for heart disease, but also for conditions that can cause visual disability such as diabetes and macular degeneration.

According to the survey, 79 percent of Americans also say that other than their own death or the death of a loved one, losing one’s eyesight is the “worst thing that could happen to me,” clearly positioning vision as one of the most important elements of one’s life, if not the most important.

“Heart disease awareness campaigns touch almost every American, from educating the public about good and bad cholesterol, proper exercise regimens, and healthy diets, to pharmaceutical companies trying to market their cholesterol or high blood pressure medications,” said Andrew Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Surge Research Inc. “For many years the Centers for Disease Control has declared heart disease as the number-one killer in America. Yet despite all this awareness, this survey implies a greater concern with quality of life than with a severe medical condition that kills one person every 34 seconds.”

The “Eye on Eyesight” survey was conducted by Surge Research Inc. from July 26 to 28, 2010 using an invitation e-mail and online survey. This survey measured the opinions of 1,050 American adults ages 18-64 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% incidence level.