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Lisa Dillon, Ashleigh Chandra, Kris Rogers, Lisa Keay; Exploring multimorbidity in older Australians with vision impairment: a cross-sectional study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):3349.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To explore multimorbidity (more than two medical conditions) in older Australians with vision impairment.
Participants were recruited from a community-based Australian vision rehabilitation organization; were aged 50+ years, English-speaking, with vision impairment and no diagnosis of dementia. A home-based vision assessment was completed using an electronic visual acuity (VA) chart at 3 metres and contrast sensitivity (CS) assessment at 1 metre with habitual correction, based on the Bailey-Lovie Visual Acuity Chart and Pelli-Robson Chart, respectively. Major visual field (VF) defects were assessed using confrontation fields. Participants self-reported physician diagnosed medical conditions using the Functional Comorbidities Index, as well as mobility aid use. Weight and height were used to calculate body mass index (BMI).
A total of 588 participants were recruited: average age was 74±11 (mean±SD) years (range 50-99), 346 (59%) were female, average BMI was 28±7kg/m2, and 397 (38%) were overweight or obese (≥25kg/m2). Average VA was 1.28±1.02 logMAR and CS 0.84±0.66, 492 (84%) were legally blind and 446 (76%) had VF loss. The most common reported vision conditions were age-related macular degeneration (207, 35%), glaucoma (134, 23%) and cataract (115, 20%), and 229 (39%) reported two or more vision conditions. Mobility aids used included the long cane (261, 44%), support cane (175, 30%) and walking frame (83, 14%). The average number of reported medical conditions, including vision impairment, was 8±3 (range 1-22). A single comorbidity was reported by 20 (3%), while multimorbidity was reported by 558 (95%) participants. The majority of participants had between four and nine comorbidities, including vision impairment (359, 61%). The most commonly reported medical conditions were arthritis (366, 62%), back pain (334, 57%) and high blood pressure (331, 56%). Dual-sensory loss (vision and hearing impairment) was reported by 271 (46%) participants.
This study confirmed the high multimorbidity experienced by older Australians with vision impairment. Further, this sample is exclusively those already engaged in vision rehabilitation, and perhaps those not in receipt of these services may have worse health outcomes. This demonstrates the complexity of health care, mobility, and dual-sensory loss implications for older Austraians with vision impairment.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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