PURPOSE: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the association of vision limitation and function among a population of older and younger adults. METHODS: The effects of self-reported serious difficulty with vision and legal blindness were evaluated on six activities of daily living (ADLs) and six instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Subjects were 67,570 adults over the age of 18 who participated in the 1995 National Health Interview Survey on Disability. RESULTS: Serious difficulty with vision (SDV) and legal blindness (LB) were independently associated with increased odds of poorer function for each of the ADLs and IADLs. In stratified analysis, the effect of vision on function was modified by age. Both SDV and LB produced a greater impact on performance of ADLs and IADLs among younger rather than older subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Vision had an impact on all ADLs and IADLs evaluated, with greater impact on self-reported function for younger adults. This suggests that younger adults perceive limitations associated with visual disability differently than do older adults.