Aim: To assess the effects of vision screening, and subsequent management of visual impairment, on visual acuity and vision-related quality of life among frail older people.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Community in Sydney, Australia.
Participants: 616 men and women aged 70 years and over (mean age 81 years) recruited mainly from people attending outpatient aged care services.
Control: No vision assessment or intervention
Interventions: Comprehensive vision and eye examinations conducted by an optometrist. Three hundred subjects were seen by the study optometrist, with 146 judged to need treatment for a vision or eye problem. The optometrist arranged new glasses for 92 subjects; 24 were referred for a home visit by an occupational therapist; 17 were referred for glaucoma management; and 15 were referred for cataract surgery.
Main outcome measure: Distance and near visual acuity (LogMAR) and composite scores on the 25-item version of the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire, both assessed at a 12-month follow-up home visit.
Results: After 12-months follow-up, the mean (LogMAR) distance visual acuity was 0.27 in the intervention group and 0.25 in the control group (p=0.32). The mean (LogMAR) near visual acuities were -0.01 in the intervention group and -0.03 in the control group (p= 0.26).The mean composite score on the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire was 84.3 in the intervention group and 86.4 in the control group (p=0.49)
Conclusions: Vision screening by an optometrist for frail older people living in the community in Australia does not lead to improvements in vision or vision-related quality of life after one year follow-up. Trial registration number ACTRN012605000144617 Key words aged 80 and over, randomized controlled trials, screening, vision disorders
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