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Alison Abraham, Xiangrong Kong, Xinxing Guo, Moon Jeong Lee, Pradeep Y Ramulu; Visual function and ocular pathology in an aging bi-racial population sample. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):4105.
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Visual impairment in older adults threatens quality of life and social engagement. Racial differences in genetic makeup, access to care or environment may produce differing profiles in visual function/ocular pathology. Here we examined racial differences in visual function/pathology in an aging population-based bi-racial sample from two communities: Jackson, Mississippi and Hagerstown, Maryland.
We analyzed visual function data (presenting near and distance visual acuity [VA], contrast sensitivity [CS], and refractive error [RE]) from participants enrolled in the Eye Determinants of Cognition (EyeDOC) Study. Distance VA was assessed using the ETDRS chart, near VA with the MNRead test and CS with the MARS test. Vision function by racial group (black vs. white) was described continuously and categorically, consistent with World Health Organization’s Classification of Visual Performance. Retinal photographs and OCT images were assessed by an ophthalmologist for the presence of pathology.
Among 181 participants (69% black; 72% female) mean age was 79 years (range: 73-91 years, 78.2 for blacks vs. 80.7 for whites). Mean logMAR distance VA was 0.10 and 0.15 among blacks and whites, respectively, with 26% of blacks and 32% of whites presenting with mild distance VA impairment (P=0.6). Among impaired, RE was the cause of VA impairment in 69% of blacks and 59% of whites. For presenting near VA, we found that 27% of blacks and 46% of whites had mild impairment and 64% of blacks and 41% of whites had moderate to severe impairment (P=0.02). The average maximum reading speed was 119 words/minute for blacks and 143 words/minute for whites (P<0.001). Mean logCS was 1.37 and 1.40 among blacks and whites, respectively (P=0.24), with mild CS impairment (log CS≤1.48) in 80% of participants overall. In images from black and white participants, we found signs of preproliferative retinopathy in 12% and 8%, glaucoma in 17% and 5%, and age-related macular degeneration in 1% and 8% of eyes, respectively.
Among aging adults from two US communities, moderate levels of mild VA impairment due to RE as well as high levels of mild impairment in CS were present in both blacks and whites, potentially putting all older adults at risk for falls. Though visual function was similar between racial groups, pathology profiles observed in retinal images were notably different.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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