Longitudinal Associations of Self-reported Vision Impairment With Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Among Older Adults in the United States

  • The objective of this study is to evaluate the longitudinal association and directionality of the association between self-reported vision impairment and clinically significant symptoms of depression and anxiety in older US adults.

  • The National Health and Aging Trends Study, a nationally representative US survey administered annually from 2011 to 2016 to a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older.

  • There were 7584 participants included in this study. At baseline, the survey-weighted proportion of participants who were women was 56.6%; 53.0% were aged 65 to 74 years, and 8.9% (95% CI, 8.1%-9.8%) had self-reported VI.

  • Older US adults with self-reported VI were more likely to report symptoms of depression in the future, while those who had symptoms of either depression or anxiety were more likely to report VI in the future.

  • This investigation suggests that there is a significant bidirectional and longitudinal association between self-reported VI and mental health symptoms.

  • Furthermore, the study suggests the need for effective strategies to screen for and address depression and anxiety among older US adults with VI.

Publication date

July 15, 2019


JAMA Ophthalmol


Charles R. Frank, Xiaoling Xiang, Brian C. Stagg, and Joshua R. Ehrlich
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