Vision loss adversely affects daily function which can increase risk for death

Vision loss can adversely affect the ability of older adults to perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), such as using the telephone, shopping and doing housework, which are all measures of an individual's ability to live independently, and that subsequently increases the risk for death.

Visual impairment (VI) can have negative effects on a person's physical and psychosocial health. VI is associated with a variety of functional and health outcomes.

The authors used data from the Salisbury Eye Evaluation study to examine the extent to which (VA) loss increased the risk for death because of its effect on functional status over time. The study included 2,520 (65 to 84 years) from September 1993 through July 2003 from the greater Salisbury, Md., area. Study participants were reassessed at 2, 6 and 8 years after baseline.

Declines in VA acuity over time were associated with increased in part because of decreasing levels of IADL over time. Individuals who experienced increasing difficulty with IADL had an increase in mortality risk that was 3 percent greater annually and 31 percent greater during the 8-year study period than individuals with a stable IADL difficulty level. Participants who experienced the decline in VA of one letter on an acuity chart were expected to have a 16 percent increase in mortality risk during the 8-year study because of associated declines in IADL levels.

"Our findings have multiple implications. First, these findings reinforce the need for the primary prevention of VI. …Moreover, the early detection of disabling eye diseases is suboptimal in the U.S. health care system, leading to otherwise preventable VI. Finally, many Americans live with VI that is correctable through the proper fitting of glasses or contact lenses. A second implication of our findings suggests that when uncorrectable VI is present, helping affected individuals maintain robust IADL is important." Sharon L. Christ, Ph.D., of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and colleagues wrote in their JAMA Ophthalmology paper.

More information: JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 21, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/.jamaopthalmol.2014.2847

Related Stories

Mexican-Americans suffer worse outcomes after stroke

date Mar 13, 2014

Mexican-Americans had worse neurologic, functional and cognitive outcomes 90 days after stroke compared to non-Hispanic whites, in a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

New optical metrics can identify patients on 'fast track' to decreased vision

date Jun 24, 2013

Sophisticated new optical quality metrics can identify older adults likely to have more rapid age-related declines in vision, suggests a study, "Factors Accounting for the 4-Year Change in Acuity in Patients Between 50 and 80 Years", in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, offic ...

Vision loss more common in people with diabetes

date Oct 13, 2008

Visual impairment appears to be more common in people with diabetes than in those without the disease, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Recommended for you

Miniature pump regulates internal ocular pressure

date Jul 01, 2015

Elevated or diminished eye pressure impairs our ability to see, and in the worst cases, can even lead to blindness. Until now, there has been no effective long-term treatment. In response, Fraunhofer researchers are developing ...

Closing the Australian eye health gap may be in sight

date Jun 30, 2015

Three years after the launch of the roadmap to close the gap for vision, progress has been made but "much remains to be done", according to the authors of a Perspective published online today by the Medical Jo ...

Pioneering gene therapy takes aim at inherited blindness

date Jun 29, 2015

Canada's first human gene therapy trial for eyes—the replacement of a faulty gene with a healthy one—is now underway at the Royal Alexandra Hospital to preserve and potentially restore vision for people ...

Iris research focuses on blood vessel patterns

date Jun 29, 2015

The structure of the microvasculature or blood vessels in the iris could play an important role in people's contraction of eye maladies like glaucoma and cataract, according to a WA-led study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.