Proper eye care improves quality of life for the elderly

Birmingham, AL-It may seem obvious to most that nursing home residents with proper eyeglasses enjoy life more and are less depressed than those with uncorrected vision problems. However, nursing home residents have 3 to 15 times higher rates of uncorrected vision impairment than seniors living independently.

Birmingham, AL-It may seem obvious to most that nursing home residents with proper eyeglasses enjoy life more and are less depressed than those with uncorrected vision problems. However, nursing home residents have 3 to 15 times higher rates of uncorrected vision impairment than seniors living independently.

"Some of the people had no glasses at all," said Cynthia Owsley, PhD, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who led research on 150 nursing home residents. "Some had glasses at one time, but they got lost. And some had glasses but the wrong prescription."

Vision was tested and corrected immediately for half of the group and then both groups were tested 2 months later for depression. The second half was then tested and had their vision corrected.

According to Dr. Owsley those who received glasses did better on follow up, reporting much less difficulty reading, looking at magazines, playing cards, watching television, and reading a clock. They also had less psychological distress and were more socially interactive.