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Br J Ophthalmol. 2009 Feb;93(2):240-3. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2008.142356. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

Health-related quality of life and visual and cognitive impairment among nursing-home residents.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 700 S. 18th Street, Suite 609, Birmingham, AL 35294-0009, USA.



To examine whether the relationship between vision impairment and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in nursing-home residents is impacted by coexisting cognitive impairment.


This cross-sectional study involved a total of 382 English-speaking older adults (>55 years of age) with > or =13 on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) from seventeen nursing homes in Birmingham, Alabama. Assessments were taken of visual acuity (Lighthouse Near Visual Acuity Test), cognition (MMSE) and health-related quality of life (Nursing Home Vision-Targeted Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire, VF-14, and the SF-36).


A greater portion of participants had both vision and cognitive impairments (38.5%) as compared with those with neither impairment (21.5%), vision impairment alone (13.4%), and cognitive impairment alone (26.7%). Cognitive impairment did not modify the impact of vision impairment on HRQoL. The reduction in HRQoL associated with vision impairment was similar for those with and without cognitive impairment.


The deleterious impact of vision impairment on HRQoL in nursing-home residents was not exacerbated by the co-occurrence of cognitive impairment. Ageing-related visual impairment in nursing-home residents is often reversible through treatment leading to improved HRQoL, and thus it is clinically important to know that cognitive impairment is unlikely to interfere with this benefit.

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