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Improved Vision Enhances Quality of Life for Seniors

glassesA new study reveals treatment of vision impairment can improve quality of life and reduce symptoms of depression among residents of long-term care facilities.

Researchers found nursing home residents who received eyeglasses for uncorrected refractive error were found to have significant psychological benefits when compared to those with refractive error who had not received eyeglasses.

The study report is published in the November issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Refractive error occurs when the proper degree of light does not reach the back of the eye, resulting in blurred vision.

“Nursing home residents in the United States and other industrialized countries have high rates of vision impairment, with estimates ranging from three to 15 times higher than corresponding rates for community-dwelling older adults,” according to background information in the article.

“Studies suggest that vision impairment in about one-third of nursing home residents could largely be reversed by treatment of uncorrected refractive error (myopia [nearsightedness], hyperopia [farsightedness], presbyopia [loss of focus]).”

Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a trial in which 142 nursing home residents age 55 or older were assigned to a group that would receive eyeglasses one week after check-up (78 residents) or a group that would receive eyeglasses at follow-up two months after check-up (64 residents). Vision-related quality-of-life and depressive symptoms were measured at baseline and at two months.

At baseline, both groups had similar demographic and medical characteristics and had similar visual acuity and refractive error uncorrected by eyeglasses. After two months, distance and near visual acuity for the right and left eye improved in the group that received eyeglasses, while the group that had not received eyeglasses had no change in visual acuity.

At the two-month follow-up, the group that received eyeglasses reported higher scores for general vision, reading, activities and hobbies and social interaction as well as fewer depressive symptoms.

“This study implies that there are significant, short-term quality-of-life and psychological benefits to providing the most basic of eye care services—namely, spectacle correction—to older adults residing in nursing homes,” the authors conclude.

“These findings underscore the need for a systematic evaluation of the factors underlying the pervasive unavailability of eye care to nursing home residents in the United States so that steps can be taken to improve service delivery and eye care utilization.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Improved Vision Enhances Quality of Life for Seniors

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Improved Vision Enhances Quality of Life for Seniors. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/11/13/improved-vision-enhances-quality-of-life-for-seniors/1525.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.