1. Potera, Carol


Facilities should provide vision screening.


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A team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham examined the eyesight of 142 nursing home residents and found that having eyeglasses improved their lives and lessened symptoms of depression.


The rate of visual impairment in people living in nursing homes is three to 15 times higher than that in older adults living in the community, yet more than half of nursing home residents show no evidence of receiving eye care services, even though Medicare and Medicaid cover them. Only half of U.S. nursing homes report contracts to provide vision and hearing services, and only 12.6% have optometric services on site.


The researchers administered questionnaires measuring quality of life, visual activities of daily living, and depression. Common vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and loss of focus, were corrected with eyeglasses. About half of the participants received their eyeglasses within a week of examination. The second group received theirs after two months, when both groups were reexamined. Participants who were already using eyeglasses had better scores for general vision, reading, participating in activities or hobbies, and social interaction. They also displayed fewer depressive symptoms than those who did not have their vision corrected.

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The researchers conclude: "This study implies that there are significant, short-term quality-of-life and psychological benefits to providing the most basic of eye care services&-namely, spectacle correction&-to older adults residing in nursing homes."


Carol Potera


Owsley C, et al. Arch Ophthalmol 2007;125(11):1471-7.



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