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H. K. Falkenberg, J. Dugstad; Evaluation of the Eye Health Care and Vision Conditions Provided to Nursing Home Residents in Wealthy Norway. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):2390.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The ageing of the population is resulting in an increase in the nursing home population. We evaluated the eye health care and visual conditions in nursing home residents, to assess whether the current system of identifying and providing vision care is adequate in Norway.
In a pilot study an extended eye examination was used to evaluate visual functions in 35 mentally healthy residents in Eikertun nursing home aged 70-101 years and 49 age-matched ambulatory elderly living at home (control group). Measurements included visual acuity (VA), contrast sensitivity (CS), refractive errors, reading speed and ophthalmoscopy. A questionnaire was used to assess ocular history and symptoms. All measurements were performed by optometrists, and new glasses and/or referrals to an ophthalmologist were provided as appropriate. We also measured daylight and evening lighting conditions in 8 long-term wards at Eikertun and compared it to current nursing home lighting standards. Areas tested included bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, corridors and stairs.
Nursing home residents have poorer vision than elderly living at home (0.57±0.35 vs. 0.16±0.04 logMAR, p<0.01), contrast sensitivity (1.78±0.3 vs. 1.2±0.05, p<0.001), and reading speed (86±60 vs. 164±27 wpm, p<0.05). 20 of the residents had not had an eye test during the last 5 years (vs. 9 controls), 18 residents were referred to an ophthalmologist (vs. 9 controls), and 9 residents were visually impaired (VA>0.55 logMAR, 20/70) vs. 0 controls. The illumination was only 1-15 % of standard in some areas (bedrooms/stairs) and uneven (<50% recommended).
This pilot study indicates that residents in Eikertun nursing home do not receive adequate eye health care, and would benefit from regular eye examinations and improved eye health care routines, record keeping and follow-ups. The lighting conditions could be improved in residents’ wards. We aim to design a protocol for nursing staff to improve the current vision care procedures and routines.
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