Saturday 23 March 2013

Depression linked to vision loss

Health professionals should be aware of the risk of depression among people who report visual function loss, researchers have warned after they found that more than 10% of US adults who report vision loss have clinical symptoms of major depression.
The study involved nearly 10,500 American adults aged 20 years or older. The researchers found that the prevalence of depression was 11.3% among people with vision loss, compared with just 4.8% for those with no vision problems.
Furthermore, adults with vision loss were 90% more likely to be depressed than those without vision loss.
For the study, researcher Xinzhi Zhang, from the National Institute of Health in Maryland, USA, and colleagues used 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data to estimate the prevalence of depression among adults reporting visual function loss and among those with visual acuity impairment.
The nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire depression scale was used to assess depression while vision loss was measured by visual function using a questionnaire and a visual acuity examination. 
The study found that depression (depression score of ≥10) was more common in those with vision loss compared to those with no vision loss: 13% versus 4.7% in those aged 20-39 years; 11.5% versus 6% in those aged 40-59 years and 9.6% versus 3% for those aged 60 years or older.
Writing in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, the researchers say: “This study provides further evidence from a national sample to generalise the relationship between depression and vision loss to adults across the age spectrum. Better recognition of depression among people reporting reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living due to vision loss is warranted.”

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