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Health-related quality of life and visual and cognitive impairment among nursing-home residents
  1. A F Elliott1,
  2. G McGwin, Jr1,2,3,
  3. C Owsley1
  1. 1
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  3. 3
    Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  1. Dr A F Elliott, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 700 S. 18th Street, Suite 609, Birmingham, AL 35294-0009, USA; elliotta{at}


Aim: To examine whether the relationship between vision impairment and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in nursing-home residents is impacted by coexisting 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, Alabama. 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 with 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. Ageing-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.

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  • Funding: This research was supported by the Retirement Research Foundation, the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, NIH grant R21-EY14071, Research to Prevent Blindness Inc. and the Alfreda J Schueler Trust.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.