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Vision-Enhancing Interventions in Nursing Home Residents and Their Short-Term Effect on Physical and Cognitive Function

Authors

  • Amanda F. Elliott PhD, MSN,

    1. From the *Departments of Ophthalmology, Epidemiology, and Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
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  • Gerald McGwin Jr. MS, PhD,

    1. From the *Departments of Ophthalmology, Epidemiology, and Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
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  • Cynthia Owsley PhD, MSPH

    1. From the *Departments of Ophthalmology, Epidemiology, and Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
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Address correspondence to Amanda F. Elliott, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 700 S. 18th Street, Suite 609, Birmingham, AL 35294. E-mail: elliotta@uab.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of vision-enhancing interventions (cataract surgery or refractive error correction) on physical function and cognitive status in nursing home residents.

DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study.

SETTING: Seventeen nursing homes in Birmingham, Alabama.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 187 English-speaking adults aged 55 and older.

INTERVENTION: Participants took part in one of two vision-enhancing interventions: cataract surgery or refractive error correction. Each group was compared against a control group (persons eligible for but who declined cataract surgery or who received delayed correction of refractive error).

MEASUREMENTS: Physical function (ability to perform activities of daily living and mobility) was assessed using a series of self-report and certified nursing assistant ratings at baseline and at 2 months for the refractive error correction group and at 4 months for the cataract surgery group. The Mini Mental State Examination was also administered.

RESULTS: No significant differences existed within or between groups from baseline to follow-up on any of the measures of physical function. Mental status scores significantly declined from baseline to follow-up for the immediate (P=.05) and delayed (P<.02) refractive error correction groups and for the cataract surgery control group (P=.05).

CONCLUSION: Vision-enhancing interventions did not lead to short-term improvements in physical functioning or cognitive status in this sample of elderly nursing home residents.

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