Purpose: To describe predictors of mortality in the 5-year follow-up of the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project (VIP) cohort.
Methods: The Melbourne VIP was a population-based study of the distribution and determinants of age-related eye disease in a cluster random sample of Melbourne residents aged 40 years and older. Baseline examinations were conducted between 1992 and 1994. In 1997, 5-year follow-up examinations of the original cohort commenced. Causes of death were obtained from the National Death Index for all reported deaths.
Results: Of the original 3,271 participants, 231 (7.1%) were reported to have died in the intervening 5 years. Of the remaining 3,040 participants eligible to return for follow-up examinations, 2,594 (85% of eligible) did participate, 51 (2%) had moved interstate or overseas, 83 (3%) could not be traced, and 312 (10%) refused to participate. Best corrected visual acuity < 6/12 and cortical cataract were associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality, as were increasing age, male sex, increased duration of cigarette smoking, increased duration of hypertension, and arthritis.
Conclusions: Even mild visual impairment increases the risk of death more than twofold.