BALTIMORE, Md.—In a study of adults aged 65 and older, vision impairment was associated with several psychosocial outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety and social isolation. A cross-sectional study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, including 2,822 U.S. adults, revealed worse examination-based and self-reported vision impairment were associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms, and worse examination-based vision impairment was associated with severe social isolation. Binocular distance visual acuity, near visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were tested.

Objectively measured vision impairment was defined as having vision impairment in either distance visual acuity (worse than 20/40), near visual acuity (worse than 20/40), or contrast sensitivity (worse than 1.55 logCS). Self-reported vision impairment was defined based on participants’ report on their vision status.

Depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire. Social isolation was defined based on living arrangement, communication frequency, and activity participation responses. These findings provide evidence to support prioritizing research aimed at enhancing the health and inclusion of people with vision impairment, according to the authors.