Purpose: Previous studies showed that older persons with vision loss generally reported low levels of health-related quality of life, although study outcomes with respect to feelings of anxiety and social support were inconsistent. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of low vision on health-related quality of life, including feelings of anxiety and social support, among community-living older adults seeking vision rehabilitation services.
Methods: Differences of activities of daily living (Groningen Activity Restriction Scale-GARS), symptoms of depression and feelings of anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales-HADS) and social support (Social Support Scale Interactions-SSL12-I) between 148 older persons ≥57 years with low vision and a reference population (N = 4,792) including eight patient groups with different chronic conditions were tested with Student's t tests.
Results: Older persons with vision loss reported poorer levels of functioning with respect to activities of daily living, symptoms of depression and feelings of anxiety as compared to the general older population as well as compared to older patients with different chronic conditions. In contrast, older persons with vision loss reported higher levels of social support.
Conclusions: Vision loss has a substantial impact on activities of daily living, symptoms of depression and feelings of anxiety. Professionals working at vision rehabilitation services may improve their quality of care as they take such information into account in their intervention work.