Bad eyesight `linked to shorter lifespan`

Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 00:00

Washington: Elderly people with
irreversible vision problems have shorter lifespans than their
peers, a new study has revealed.

An international team has found that visual problems
that cannot be corrected are associated with increased risk of
death among individuals between the ages of 49 and 74, and all
visual impairments may be associated with the risk of death in
older adults, the `Archives of Ophthalmology` reported.

"
Visual impairment has been associated with a higher
risk of death as well as factors that may lead to increased
death such as unintentional injury, depression, lower body
mass index (BMI), reduced walking speeds, increased risk of
falls, according to scientists.
"Correction for these `confounders` has been found
to attenuate the association between visual impairment and
mortality, but the mechanisms behind the association between
visual impairment and mortality remain to be determined," team
leader Michael J. Karpa of Westmead Millennium Institute said.

"The scientists examined visual impairment in 3,654
participants aged 49 and older between 1992 and 1994 and after
five and ten years, to evaluate the relationship between
visual impairment and death risk among older individuals.

"

At baseline, participants with noncorrectable visual
impairment were more likely to be female, age 75 and older
and underweight. Those with correctable visual impairment were
more likely to be age 75 and older, but had no difference in
proportions of women or BMI.

" Thirteen years after baseline, 1,273 participants
had died. A higher risk of dying was linked to noncorrectable
visual impairment, with a stronger association for
participants younger than age 75.

" "The analyses revealed greater effects of
noncorrectable visual impairment on mortality risk, with both
direct and indirect effects. Of mortality risk markers
examined only disability in walking demonstrated a significant
pathway for the link between visual impairment and mortality.

""In conclusion, this study reaffirms that visual
impairment is associated with an increased risk of all-cause
mortality," the scientists said.
At baseline, participants with noncorrectable visual
impairment were more likely to be female, age 75 and older
and underweight. Those with correctable visual impairment were
more likely to be age 75 and older, but had no difference in
proportions of women or BMI.

Thirteen years after baseline, 1,273 participants
had died. A higher risk of dying was linked to noncorrectable
visual impairment, with a stronger association for
participants younger than age 75.

"The analyses revealed greater effects of
noncorrectable visual impairment on mortality risk, with both
direct and indirect effects. Of mortality risk markers
examined only disability in walking demonstrated a significant
pathway for the link between visual impairment and mortality.

"In conclusion, this study reaffirms that visual
impairment is associated with an increased risk of all-cause
mortality," the scientists said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 00:00

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