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L.V. Raju, T.R. Friberg, R.W. Bremer, P.R. Houck, H.A. Pincus; Diminished Perception of Ambient Light: A Symptom of Depression? . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):3464.
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To investigate if there is a correlation between the reporting of feelings of depression and decreased visual acuity.
The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES–D), a 20–item self–report depression severity measure designed for epidemiologic research, was administered to subjects participating in the Age–Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). At the UPMC Eye Center, the question, "I’ve noticed that the lights in my surroundings seem dimmer than usual", was added to the CES–D. The answer to the question was graded on a 4 point scale from "none of the time" to "all of the time", similar to the grading of the rest of the CES–D.
Subjects endorsing their surroundings were dimmer than usual none of the time had a mean CES–D score of 5.5 (SD=5.4) versus 10.6 (SD=7.0) for subjects endorsing their surroundings were dim any of the time. Examining depressed (CES–D>16) versus nondepressed (CES–D<16) subjects who reported any dimness in their surroundings were significantly more likely to be depressed (Χ2=15.6, p<0.0001). The total CES–D score and reported dimness (0–3) were significantly associated (r=0.30, p<.0001). To control for other confounding variables, a stepwise logistic regression controlled for AMD severity, total VFQ–25 score, visual acuity in the worst eye, gender, and martial status was performed. After controlling for these variables, subjects who reported any dimness were more likely to be depressed (CES–D>16) (OR=4.5, 95% CI: 1.25, 16.16). This may be especially true for males, who reported dimness more often than females.
There does appear to be a significant correlation between reported dimness of vision and reported feelings of depression. This may be especially important in patients that have a diagnosis that may lead to a progressive decrease in vision. Ophthalmologists encountering these patients should question the patient about other symptoms of depression.
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