Treatment of Uncorrected Refractive Error Improves Vision-Specific Quality of Life

  • The purpose of this study is to evaluate the benefit of eyeglasses and magnifiers in elderly patients in Los Angeles County, California with uncorrected refractive errors.

  • A single-center, randomized, prospective, controlled trial (September 2001 to August 2003).

  • One hundred thirty-one community-dwelling persons aged 65 and older who had habitual distance visual acuity of 20/32 or worse and whose distant visual acuity, near visual acuity, or both could be improved with eyeglasses, a magnifier, or both by two lines of acuity or more.

  • Sixty-six were randomized to receive a prescription and voucher for free eyeglasses, a magnifier, or both immediately, and 65 were randomized to receive a prescription and voucher after the 3-month follow-up visit (the control group).

  • Primary outcome was vision-specific functioning as measured using the 25-item National Eye Institute-Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ).

  • Secondary outcomes were distance and near visual acuity and overall functioning as measured using the Rosow-Breslau function questionnaire. In the intention-to-treat analysis of 3-month follow-up data, participants who received the eyeglasses prescription and voucher immediately had greater improvement in NEI-VFQ composite scores than the control group (P<.01).

  • They also had greater improvement in perceptions of their general vision (P<.01), distance visual acuity (P=.03), near visual acuity (P=.04), and mental health (P=.02).

  • Correction of uncorrected refractive error, one of the leading causes of visual impairment in older people, improved the vision-specific quality of life of community-dwelling older persons.

Publication date

February 20, 2020


Journal of the American Geriatrics Society


Anne Coleman, Fei Yu, Emmett B. Keeler, Carol M. Mangione
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