Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good news for aging eyes: Debilitating eyesight problems on the decline for older Americans

Date:
June 28, 2012
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Today's senior citizens are reporting fewer visual impairment problems than their counterparts from a generation ago, according to a new study. Improved techniques for cataract surgery and a reduction in the prevalence of macular degeneration may be the driving forces behind this change, the researchers said.

Today's senior citizens are reporting fewer visual impairment problems than their counterparts from a generation ago, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. Improved techniques for cataract surgery and a reduction in the prevalence of macular degeneration may be the driving forces behind this change, the researchers said.

"From 1984 until 2010, the decrease in visual impairment in those 65 and older was highly statistically significant," said Angelo P. Tanna, M.D., first author of the study. "There was little change in visual impairments in adults under the age of 65."

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, shows that in 1984, 23 percent of elderly adults had difficulty reading or seeing newspaper print because of poor eyesight. By 2010, there was an age-adjusted 58 percent decrease in this kind of visual impairment, with only 9.7 percent of elderly reporting the problem.

There was also a substantial decline in eyesight problems that limited elderly Americans from taking part in daily activities, such as bathing, dressing or getting around inside or outside of the home, according to the study.

"The findings are exciting, because they suggest that currently used diagnostic and screening tools and therapeutic interventions for various ophthalmic diseases are helping to prolong the vision of elderly Americans," Tanna said.

Tanna is the vice chairman of ophthalmology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Stephen Kaye, of the Institute for Health & Aging and Disability Statistics Center, University of California, is the second author of the study.

The study used self-reported data collected from 1984 to 2010 through two major population-based surveys, the National Health Interview Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Survey questions revealed how vision problems can impact the daily activities and quality of life of Americans and helped researchers analyze trends in the prevalence of visual impairment of adults in the United States.

While this study didn't identify any of the causes of the change in the prevalence of visual impairment, Tanna said there are three likely reasons for the decline:

  • Improved techniques and outcomes for cataract surgery
  • Less smoking, resulting in a drop in the prevalence of macular degeneration
  • Treatments for diabetic eye diseases are more readily available and improved, despite the fact that the prevalence of diabetes has increased

Future studies should identify which treatment strategies help prevent vision in older adults and then make those treatments available to as many people as possible, Tanna said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Erin White. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Angelo P. Tanna, H. Stephen Kaye. Trends in Self-reported Visual Impairment in the United States: 1984 to 2010. Ophthalmology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.04.018

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Good news for aging eyes: Debilitating eyesight problems on the decline for older Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628164633.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2012, June 28). Good news for aging eyes: Debilitating eyesight problems on the decline for older Americans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628164633.htm
Northwestern University. "Good news for aging eyes: Debilitating eyesight problems on the decline for older Americans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628164633.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins