Health risk appraisal in older people 6: factors associated with self-reported poor vision and uptake of eye tests in older people

Iliffe, Steve; Kharicha, Kalpa; Harari, Danielle; Swift, Cameron; Gillmann, Gerhard; Stuck, Andreas (2013). Health risk appraisal in older people 6: factors associated with self-reported poor vision and uptake of eye tests in older people. BMC family practice, 14(130), p. 130. BioMed Central 10.1186/1471-2296-14-130

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BACKGROUND Although free eye testing is available in the UK from a nation-wide network of optometrists, there is evidence of unrecognised, tractable vision loss amongst older people. A recent review identified this unmet need as a priority for further investigation, highlighting the need to understand public perceptions of eye services and barriers to service access and utilisation. This paper aims to identify risk factors for (1) having poor vision and (2) not having had an eyesight check among community-dwelling older people without an established ophthalmological diagnosis. METHODS Secondary analysis of self-reported data from the ProAge trial. 1792 people without a known ophthalmological diagnosis were recruited from three group practices in London. RESULTS Almost two in ten people in this population of older individuals without known ophthalmological diagnoses had self-reported vision loss, and more than a third of them had not had an eye test in the previous twelve months. In this sample, those with limited education, depressed mood, need for help with instrumental and basic activities of daily living (IADLs and BADLs), and subjective memory complaints were at increased risk of fair or poor self-reported vision. Individuals with basic education only were at increased risk for not having had an eye test in the previous 12 months (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.17-1.98 p=0.002), as were those with no, or only one chronic condition (OR 1.850, 95% CI 1.382-2.477, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS Self-reported poor vision in older people without ophthalmological diagnoses is associated with other functional losses, with no or only one chronic condition, and with depression. This pattern of disorders may be the basis for case finding in general practice. Low educational attainment is an independent determinant of not having had eye tests, as well as a factor associated with undiagnosed vision loss. There are other factors, not identified in this study, which determine uptake of eye testing in those with self-reported vision loss. Further exploration is needed to identify these factors and lead towards effective case finding.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Geriatric Clinic

UniBE Contributor:

Stuck, Andreas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Rebecca Rufer

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2014 13:23

Last Modified:

12 Sep 2017 08:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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