Aim: To examine whether the relationship between vision impairment and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in nursing home residents is impacted by co-existing cognitive impairment.
Methods: This cross-sectional study involved a total of 382 English-speaking older adults (>55 years of age) with >13 on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) from seventeen nursing homes in Birmingham, AL. Assessments were taken of visual acuity (Lighthouse Near Visual Acuity Test), cognition (MMSE), and health-related quality of life (Nursing Home Vision-Targeted Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire, VF-14, and the SF-36).
Results: A greater portion of participants had both vision and cognitive impairments (38.5%) as compared to those with neither impairment (21.5%), vision impairment alone (13.4%), and cognitive impairment alone (26.7%). Cognitive impairment did not modify the impact of vision impairment on HRQoL. The reduction in HRQoL associated with vision impairment was similar for those with and without cognitive impairment.
Conclusion: The deleterious impact of vision impairment on HRQoL in nursing home residents was not exacerbated by the co-occurrence of cognitive impairment. Aging-related visual impairment in nursing home residents is often reversible through treatment leading to improved HRQoL, and thus it is clinically important to know that cognitive impairment is unlikely to interfere with this benefit.