Common causes of visual impairment in the elderly
Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology,
Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021),
24 February 2022
AbstractBackground: Aging is not a disease; rather, it is a process. As people age, visual impairment (VI) becomes more common. In 2010, the overall prevalence rate of vision impairment in all races was 25.66% in individuals aged equal to or more than 80 years, according to the estimate of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. This review aimed to address the common causes of VI in the elderly.
Methods: In this narrative review, an electronic search of the PubMed/MEDLINE database was conducted using “visual impairment” and “elderly” for the period between January 2010 and April 2021, to include randomized clinical trials and observational studies concerning VI in the elderly. The selected time period was chosen to provide an updated review.
Results: The search yielded 2,955 articles published over the period of more than 11 years. The relevant randomized clinical trials or observational studies were included and reviewed. Cataracts, refractive errors, open-angle glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy were the most common age-related ocular disorders leading to VI if untreated in the elderly. The loss of visual acuity can adversely affect quality of life in the elderly. Difficulty with activities of daily living related to VI can lead to social isolation, depression, and anxiety. Loss of vision in the elderly is linked to an increased risk of falls, hip fracture, depression, and poor quality of life.
Conclusions: The most common causes of VI in the elderly are cataracts and refractive errors. VI in most ocular diseases is more prevalent in women than in men due to longer lifespan. The overall prevalence of the main causes of VI in the elderly is expected to increase; therefore, health policymakers should consider this when planning for the health-enhancement program of the population.
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