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D. S. Chang, Y. Liang, N. Wang, X. Yang, Q. Tao, L. Sun, X. Duan, D. S. Friedman; Effect of Visual Acuity on Measured Physical Ability and Self-Reported Functional Mobility in Rural China: The Handan Eye Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5213.
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Background: Visual impairment has been associated with lower functional mobility in several population based studies from developed countries. This relationship may have greater impact on quality of life in rural settings where fewer adaptive technologies are available.
To investigate the effect of visual acuity (VA) on measured physical ability and self-reported functional mobility in a rural Chinese population.
The Handan Eye Study is a population-based cohort study of persons randomly selected from 13 villages in rural China. Our sample is a subset that completed all testing, and consisted of 3,639 persons aged 30 to 97 years, with 53% female. Physical ability was assessed using the timed get up and go test (TUG), defined as the time taken to stand up from a chair and walk 3 meters forward and return back to the chair. Self-reported functional mobility was a composite of mobility, self-care and usual activity difficulty scores derived from the EQ-5D questionnaire (each score 0 to 2, with higher being worse). Presenting visual acuity (better eye) was assessed as logMAR according to a modified ETDRS protocol. Multivariable linear regression was performed to assess the effect of VA on physical ability and functional mobility, adjusting for age, gender, cognitive function (MMSE), depression and anxiety (EQ-5D), and muscle power (handgrip strength).
Mean presenting visual acuity was 0.17 (+/- 0.24) logMAR. Mean TUG test duration was 14.0 (+/- 3.45) seconds. Most persons had a perfect score of zero on each functional mobility component. Worsening VA was linearly associated with longer TUG test duration, and worse (higher) scores on all functional mobility indices (Table). This effect remained significant after adjustment.
Visual impairment has a detrimental impact on both measured physical ability and self-reported functional mobility in rural communities. This may have an important effect on the quality of life of these persons.
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