Causes of low vision and use of optical aids in the elderly
PURPOSE: To determine the causes of low vision in an elderly population attended by a university visual rehabilitation service and to check for the use of prescribed optical aids.
Type of publication:Scientific publications
Date of publication:01/01/2004
Author(s):Keila Monteiro de Carvalho; Gelse Beatriz Martins Monteiro; Cassiano Rodrigues Isaac; Lineu Oto Shiroma; Marcela Scabello Amaral
Publishing organization:Revista do Hospital das Clínicas
METHOD: A cross-sectional study was carried out on patients aged 60 years or over attending for the first time a university low vision service in 2001. Ophthalmic reevaluation and interview were performed by means of a structured questionnaire in 2002.
RESULTS: The sample comprised 50 subjects aged between 60 and 90 years. Severe low vision (<20/200) was present in 68.0% of patients. The main cause of low vision was age-related macular degeneration (44.0%). Regarding literacy, 16.0% were illiterate and 72.0% had completed fundamental schooling. Thirty-one patients (62.0%) had been prescribed optical aids; 54.8% of these patients stated that they use them. A majority (70.6%) held a favorable opinion of these aids.
CONCLUSIONS: The main cause of low vision was age-related macular degeneration. Approximately half of those receiving prescriptions reported actually using the aids in their daily activities. Making best use of residual vision in the elderly population with visual impairment is a priority, given the social context, if the independence necessary for enhanced quality of life is to be achieved.