November 2009




Vision impairment links to increased risk of death


An Australian study has found that vision problems without treatment options are correlated to a shorter life span, HealthDay News reported.

The article said the study confirms previous findings linking vision impairment with a higher risk of death from factors like accidental injury, depression, a low body mass index, slow walking speeds, a greater likelihood of falls, lower levels of physical activity, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer.

The study included 3,654 participants aged 49 and older. Female participants aged 75 and older and underweight were the most likely to have non-correctable impaired vision, the report said.

The study results, published in the October issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, showed 1,273 study participants died in the 13 years after the study began. Study participants with untreatable impaired vision had a higher risk for dying in that time period, the researchers noted. In addition, the association was strongest for those younger than 75, the report said.

Michael J. Karpa, Westmead Millennium Institute, Sydney, and colleagues, wrote that the study exposed greater effects of uncorrectable visual impairment on mortality risk, with both direct and indirect effects. “Of mortality risk markers examined, only disability in walking demonstrated a significant indirect pathway for the link between visual impairment and mortality,“ the researchers wrote.

The study also said, “Disability in walking may represent an important indirect pathway to mortality for persons with visual impairment, and adjusting for this factor in statistical analysis may overadjust for the indirect effect of visual impairment on mortality risk.” “The impact of visual impairment on mortality may in fact be greater than that reported from previous studies that have used traditional statistical models,“ the researchers concluded.

Source: HealthDay News

Reported By:

EyeWorld News Services

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