Visual impairment is associated with physical and mental comorbidities in older adults: a cross-sectional study

Court, H., McLean, G., Guthrie, B., Mercer, S. W. and Smith, D. J. (2014) Visual impairment is associated with physical and mental comorbidities in older adults: a cross-sectional study. BMC Medicine, 12(1), p. 181. (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0181-7)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-014-0181-7

Abstract

Background

Visual impairment is common in older people and the presence of additional health conditions can compromise health and rehabilitation outcomes. A small number of studies have suggested that comorbities are common in visual impairment; however, those studies have relied on self-report and have assessed a relatively limited number of comorbid conditions.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a dataset of 291,169 registered patients (65-years-old and over) within 314 primary care practices in Scotland, UK. Visual impairment was identified using Read Code ever recorded for blindness and/or low vision (within electronic medical records). Prevalence, odds ratios (from prevalence rates standardised by stratifying individuals by age groups (65 to 69 years; 70 to 74; 75 to 79; 80 to 84; and 85 and over), gender and deprivation quintiles) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of 37 individual chronic physical/mental health conditions and total number of conditions were calculated and compared for those with visual impairment to those without.

Results

Twenty seven of the 29 physical health conditions and all eight mental health conditions were significantly more likely to be recorded for individuals with visual impairment compared to individuals without visual impairment, after standardising for age, gender and social deprivation. Individuals with visual impairment were also significantly more likely to have more comorbidities (for example, five or more conditions (odds ratio (OR) 2.05 95% CI 1.94 to 2.18)).

Conclusions

Patients aged 65 years and older with visual impairment have a broad range of physical and mental health comorbidities compared to those of the same age without visual impairment, and are more likely to have multiple comorbidities. This has important implications for clinical practice and for the future design of integrated services to meet the complex needs of patients with visual impairment, for example, embedding depression and hearing screening within eye care services.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Court, Dr Helen and McLean, Dr Gary and Mercer, Professor Stewart and Smith, Professor Daniel and Guthrie, Prof Bruce
Authors: Court, H., McLean, G., Guthrie, B., Mercer, S. W., and Smith, D. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:BMC Medicine
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1741-7015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Medicine 12(1):181
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
477971Living Well with Multiple MorbidityStewart MercerScottish Executive Health Department (SEHHD-CSO)ARPG/07/01IHW - GENERAL PRACTICE & PRIMARY CARE