Purpose: To describe the prevalence of vision-related quality of life (VR-QOL) impairment in an elderly UK population sample.
Method: The survey, using the VCM1 questionnaire, was based on an age- and sex-stratified random population sample of 2783 individuals aged 55 years or over.
Results: One thousand eight hundred and forty-six (69.7%) of 2647 eligible subjects responded. One thousand six hundred and eighty-three individuals completed all 10 VCM1 items. Overall the prevalence of a VCM1 score >2.0 ('more than a little' concern about vision) was 4.6% (95% CI = 3.7% to 5.7%), leading to an estimate of more than 550,000 individuals in England with substantial VR-QOL impairment. The prevalence increased with age from 2.1% in the 55-64 year age group to 17.9% in the group aged 85 years and older. The prevalence also increased as social class became lower, from 0 in social class I to 10.2% in social class V, and increased with increasing material deprivation, from 1.2% in the most affluent quintile to 6.8% in the most deprived quintile. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that age (p = 0.0001), decreasing social class (p = 0.03) and increasing material deprivation (p = 0.008) were independently associated with VR-QOL impairment (VCM1 score >2.0), whilst gender and means of questionnaire administration were not associated with VR-QOL impairment at the 5% level.
Conclusions: The findings suggest a substantial national prevalence of VR-QOL impairment, and are consistent with earlier studies linking ocular disease with social deprivation. Consideration should be given to directing resources more carefully towards groups at higher risk of VR-QOL impairment, in particular the very elderly and socially deprived.