Visual Impairment May Affect Mortality Risk in Elders
Study suggests non-correctable visual decline associated with higher odds of death
13 oct 2009-- Visual impairment that cannot be corrected increases the odds of mortality in older adults, especially among those younger than 75, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Michael J. Karpa, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a study of 3,654 people aged 49 years and above who were examined from 1992 to 1994 and again after five and 10 years.
Thirteen years after the start of the study, 1,273 participants had died, and non-correctable visual impairment was associated with higher mortality, the researchers discovered. Among those younger than 75 years, this association was stronger, and disability in walking also played an indirect role in the association between mortality and visual impairment, the investigators found.
"Disability in walking may represent an important indirect pathway to mortality for persons with visual impairment, and adjusting for this factor in statistical analysis may overadjust for the indirect effect of visual impairment on mortality risk," the authors write. "The impact of visual impairment on mortality may in fact be greater than that reported from previous studies that have used traditional statistical models."