Visual acuity and mortality in a chinese population. The Tanjong Pagar Study

Ophthalmology. 2008 May;115(5):802-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.04.066. Epub 2007 Aug 31.


Objective: To examine the relationship between visual acuity and mortality in a Chinese population.

Design: Population-based cohort study.

Participants: Chinese persons in Singapore ages 40 to 79 years at baseline examination.

Methods: The Tanjong Pagar Study in Singapore examined 1232 persons (response rate, 71.8%) at the baseline examination in 1997 and 1998. Participants had measurements of presenting and best-corrected visual acuity (VA) using standardized protocols. Mortality data were obtained from the National Death Registry, which linked subjects who had died since the baseline examination. Cause of death was determined from the International Classification of Diseases 9 codes. Analysis was performed on 1225 (99.4%) participants with VA data.

Main outcome measure: All-cause mortality.

Results: By December 31, 2004 (median follow-up, 6.8 years), 126 persons had died. Participants with presenting VA in the better eye worse than 20/40 (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR] score, 0.3) had a significantly higher mortality rate (hazard ratio [HR], 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-6.3, adjusting for age, gender, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, heart attack, stroke, and income) as compared with participants with VA of 20/20 (logMAR, 0.0). Associations were similar for best-corrected VA in the better eye (HR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4-5.5). Among clinic participants with logMAR VA measurements, each 1-line difference in presenting VA (logMAR gain, 0.10) was associated with a 4-fold increased risk of mortality (HR, 4.4; 95% CI, 1.9-10.2).

Conclusions: In this Chinese population in Singapore, visual impairment was associated independently with an increased risk of mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asians / ethnology*
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Vision Disorders / ethnology
  • Vision Disorders / mortality*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*