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Journal Article


Kulmala J, Era P, Pärssinen O, Sakari R, Sipilä S, Rantanen T, Heikkinen E. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. 2008; 20(1): 25-30.


Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, Jyvaskyla, Finland.


(Copyright © 2008, Editrice Kurtis)






BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Poor vision in older people is often related to increased fall risk. However, the association of the severity between visual deficit and risk for all kind of injurious accidents has not been widely studied. The aim of this study was to examine whether visual loss is associated with higher incidence of injurious accidents and whether walking speed or physical activity play a mediating role in the association. METHODS: 416 persons aged 75 and 80 years at baseline underwent visual acuity measurements. Visual acuity (VA)<0.3 in the better eye, with spectacle correction when necessary, was defined as visual impairment, VA>/=0.3 but0.5 as normal VA. Hospital records of accidents resulting in injury were monitored for 10 years after baseline. RESULTS: During the 10-year follow-up, 239 (58%) participants suffered at least one injurious accident. The risk for injurious accidents in a multivariate model adjusted for age, gender, eye-related diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among participants with lowered vision was 1.45 (95% CI 1.08- 1.94), compared with that for people with normal visual acuity. Participants with visual impairment did not have an increased risk for injurious accidents (HR 1.20, 95% CI 0.82-1.75). Furthermore, neither walking speed nor physical activity had a mediating effect on the relationship between visual loss and accidents. CONCLUSIONS: Lowered vision is a risk factor for injurious accidents in older people independent of mobility and physical activity. Interestingly, more severe visual impairment did not increase the risk. Early intervention strategies, for example, proper correction of refractive errors or cataract extraction, may potentially prevent injurious accidents in older people.

Language: en


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