The Impact of Visual Impairment and Use of Eye Services on Health-Related Quality of Life among the Elderly in Taiwan: The Shihpai Eye Study

Community Medicine Research Center and Institute of Public Health, National Yang-Ming University, Shihpai, Taipei, Taiwan.
Quality of Life Research (Impact Factor: 2.49). 11/2004; 13(8):1415-24. DOI: 10.1023/B:QURE.0000040791.87602.fe
Source: PubMed


To evaluate the effect of impaired vision on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), the authors administered the Medical Outcomes Survey Short-Form 36 (SF-36) to the elderly in a metropolitan Taiwanese community and assessed their visual impairment status. A structured questionnaire was used for door-to-door data collection. Interviewers also collected information on demographics, medical history, and HRQoL. Those who were interviewed were invited to the study hospital for a detailed eye examination. An eye examination, including presenting visual acuity and best-corrected visual acuity, was conducted by ophthalmologists. Presenting visual acuity and best-corrected visual acuity were measured in the better eye. Impaired vision was defined as presenting visual acuity in the better-seeing eye worse than 6/12 (or 20/40) and was used to evaluate the correlation to HRQoL. A total of 1361 subjects at least 65 years of age participated in both the interview and eye examination. Internal-consistency and test-retest reliability of the eight scales were high. Based on the separate multiple regression model, after controlling for all other covariates, subjects in contact with vision services offered by an ophthalmologist had more positive scores on general health perceptions (beta = 4.29; p < 0.001), vitality/energy (beta = 2.73; p < 0.001), and mental health (beta = 2.06; p = 0.01). Impaired vision was associated with significantly lower scores in physical functioning (beta = -3.62; p < 0.001) and social functioning scales (beta = -3.25; p = 0.015). The findings suggest that visual impairment is associated with lower quality of life and use of eye care services is associated with higher quality of life.

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    • "This is a foreseeable trend that when the Hong Kong population is aging, the problem will be much more serious in the future, being not only an individual health problem, but also a public economic burden. To cope with this, suitable eye services are essential , and many have been proven effective to improve QOL for people with visual impairment (Brenner et al., 1993; Mangione et al., 1994; Tsai et al., 2004). Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and stereopsis were used to access risk of falls in many studies (Ivers et al., 1998; Lord and Dayhew, 2001; Rowan, 2001). "
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