Age-specific causes of bilateral visual impairment
AuthorWeih, LeAnn M.; VanNewkirk, Mylan R.; McCarty, Catherine A.; Taylor, Hugh R.
Source TitleArchives of Ophthalmology
PublisherAmerican Medical Association
AffiliationMedicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences: Centre for Eye Research Australia
School of Medicine: Ophthalmology
Document TypeJournal (Paginated)
CitationsWeih, L. M., VanNewkirk, M. R., McCarty, C. A., & Taylor, H. R. (2000). Age-specific causes of bilateral visual impairment. Archives of Ophthalmology, 118, 264-269.
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Objectives: To describe the age-specific prevalence of common eye diseases causing bilateral visual impairment and estimate the total number of Australians with cause-specific visual impairment. Methods: Cluster-stratified random sample of 5147 residents aged 40 years and older from urban and rural areas and aged-care facilities. Participants completed a standardized interview and eye examination. Four levels of bilateral visual impairment were defined: less than 20/40 to 20/60 and/or homonymous hemianopia (mild), less than 20/60 to 20/200 or better and/or less than 20° to 10° radius field (moderate), less than 20/200 to 10/200 and/or less than 10° to 5° radius field (severe), and less than 101 200 and/or less than 5° radius field (profound). The major cause of vision loss was identified for all participants found to be visually impaired. Results: Uncorrected refractive error was the most common cause of bilateral visual impairment across all decades of life, rising from 0.5% in 40- to 49- year-olds to 13% among those aged 80 years and older. Prevalence of visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy was 0.7% in 50- to 59- year-olds and 0.8% in those older than 80 years. Visual impairment due to glaucoma had a prevalence of 0.7% among 60-year-olds and rose to 4% of those older than 90 years. The prevalence of visual impairment due to cataract (only present in those aged 70 years or older) rose from 0.6% to 11% in those older than 90 years, and the prevalence of visual impairment due to age related macular degeneration rose from 0.8% to 16% in those older than 90 years. Conclusions: The predominant causes of visual impairment change with age. Recognition of these patterns is fundamental for early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease and, where appropriate, referral for rehabilitation.
KeywordsCERA; ophthalmology; Centre for Eye Research Australia; eye research; vision; visual health
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