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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Visual Function in Working-Age Adults : Early Life Influences and Associations with Health and Social Outcomes

AUTHOR:

Jugnoo S. Rahi, PhD, FRCOphth

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2009

PUBLICATION:

American Journal of Ophthalmology

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • This population-based cohort study investigated how visual function in mid-adult life is associated with health and social outcomes.

  • Nine thousand three hundred thirty members of the 1958 British birth cohort at age 44 or 45 years participated in the study.

  • The study found that, although relatively uncommon in working-age adults, impaired vision can have important adverse consequences, which highlights the value of investigating visual function in the broader context of health and social functioning.

  • In addition, visual function in adult life may be influenced directly by key prenatal and childhood biological and social determinants of general health.

SUMMARY

The purpose of this population-based cohort study was to investigate how visual function in mid-adult life is associated with health and social outcomes and, using life-course epidemiology, whether it is influenced by early life biological and social factors.

Nine thousand three hundred thirty members of the 1958 British birth cohort at age 44 or 45 years participated in the study. Their distance, near, and stereo vision were assessed as part of a broader biomedical examination.


Logistic, multinomial, and proportional odds ordinal logistic regression were used, as appropriate, to assess the association between these vision functions and both key early life influences and health and social outcomes in mid-adult life.


The study found that, although relatively uncommon in working-age adults, impaired vision can have important adverse consequences, which highlights the value of investigating visual function in the broader context of health and social functioning.


In addition, visual function in adult life may be influenced directly by key prenatal and childhood biological and social determinants of general health. Thus, application of life-course epidemiology to complex chronic ophthalmic diseases of adult life such as glaucoma or macular degeneration is likely to prove valuable in elucidating whether and how biological, social, and lifestyle factors contribute to the cause.