Link between depression and functional visual loss

Mar 10, 2013
Study Estimates Association Between Depression, Functional Vision Loss in Adults

Xinzhi Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues suggest that self-reported visual function loss was associated with depression in a study that used a national survey of U.S. adults. (Online First)

The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2005-2008) and included 10,480 adults 20 years of age or older.

The estimated crude prevalence of depression was 11.3 percent among adults with self-reported visual function loss and 4.8 percent among adults without. The estimated prevalence of depression was 10.7 percent among adults with presenting visual acuity impairment compared with 6.8 percent among adults with normal visual acuity. After controlling for a number of factors, including age, sex and general health status, self-reported visual function loss remained significantly associated with depression (overall odds ratio, 1.9) whereas the association between presenting visual acuity impairment and depression was no longer statistically significant, according to the results.

“This study provides further evidence from a national sample to generalize the relationship between depression and vision loss to adults across the age spectrum. Better recognition of depression among people reporting reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living due to vision loss is warranted,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online March 7, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamainternmed.2013.2597.