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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Epidemiological Associations of Vision Impairment and Health Among A National Cohort of 87,134 Adults in Thailand

AUTHOR:

V. Yiengprugsawan, S. Seubsman, T. C. Sleigh

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

International Collaborative Research Grants Scheme , Wellcome Trust UK, and Australian NHMRC

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2015

PUBLICATION:

Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The study examined causes of visual impairment (refractive errors and vision not correctable by glasses) and associated adverse health outcomes.

  • The sample comprised of 87 134 adults, aged 15 to 87 years.

  • 1% participants reported Refractive errors, while 7.9% reported eyesight problems not correctable by any visual aids.

  • Participants with either type of vision impairment (correctable and not correctable) were more likely to report poor self-assessed health (4.0% for no impairment vs 6.0% for correctable impairment and 7.8% for uncorrectable impairment);

  • The results were similar for poor psychological health (5.6% vs 6.9% vs. 8.9%);

  • Those with correctable or uncorrectable vision impairment were also more likely than the unimpaired to report poor hearing (7.2% vs. 12.2% vs. 14.1%).

  • Metabolic disorders were also more common among those who reported either type of vision impairment.

  • Overall injuries and falls were also more common among those with vision impairments.

Abstract: To date, over 300 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, imposing social and economic burdens on individual and families. Data derived from a cohort of 87,134 Thai adults. We report Odds Ratios (ORs) from logistic regression and derive Population Attributable Fractions (PAFs). Approximately 28% of the cohort members reported refractive errors and 8% had uncorrectable vision impairment. Awareness of refractive errors was associated with higher income and urban residence. Both types of vision impairment were positively associated with poor self-assessed health (adjusted ORs 1.23 to 2.03) and poor psychological health (adjusted ORs 1.13 to 1.63). PAFs show that correctable and uncorrectable vision impairments explain respectively 6.1% and 7.5% of poor self-assessed health, 3.5% and 4.7% of poor psychological health, and 2.2% and 3.1% of falls in the last year. Incorporating early detection and prevention at the primary healthcare level will help to promote the health of Thais.