The impact of blurred vision on functioning and well-being

Ophthalmology. 1997 Mar;104(3):390-6. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(97)30303-0.


Objective: To determine the impact of blurred vision on functional status and well-being, the authors used a cross-sectional analysis of Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 2-year follow-up data.

Methods: One thousand six hundred forty-two respondents were asked to report how often they experienced blurred vision not correctable by glasses or contact lenses, as well as other various symptoms, at the 2-year follow-up. Participants completed the SF-36, a general functioning and well-being instrument. Demographic, medical, and other data also were collected. The association of these symptoms, including blurred vision, and tracer medical conditions with SF-36 scores were evaluated.

Results: The unique impact of blurred vision on role limitations due to physical health problems was significantly greater than the impact of hypertension, history of myocardial infarction, type II diabetes mellitus, indigestion, trouble urinating, and headache. Blurred vision also had a significantly greater negative impact on energy than Type I diabetes mellitus, on social function than indigestion, and on physical functioning than trouble urinating.

Conclusions: Having blurred vision more than once or twice a month has a detectable and significant impact on functional status and well-being, especially in role limitations due to physical health problems. This demonstrates the impact of a common visual symptom on health status and well-being, as measured by the SF-36. In addition, comparison of the impact of various symptoms and conditions provides important and potentially clinically relevant information.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Vision Disorders / complications*
  • Visual Acuity