Seniors Find Eye Care Improves Lifestyle

By Tom Hays, ABOC, NCLE

Some older adults may be able to improve their quality of life with a simple device: new eyeglasses. In a recent study, those seniors who received eyeglasses for uncorrected vision problems were found to have improved quality of life and decreased symptoms of depression when compared to those with vision problems who had not received eyeglasses.

Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a trial in which 142 nursing home residents age 55 or older were assigned to a group that would receive eyeglasses one week after check-up (78 residents) or a group that would receive eyeglasses at follow-up two months after check-up (64 residents).

Vision-related quality-of-life and depressive symptoms were measured at baseline and at two months.

At baseline, both groups had similar demographic and medical characteristics and had similar visual problems uncorrected by eyeglasses. After two months, distance and near visual abilities for the right and left eye improved in the group that received eyeglasses, while the group that had not received eyeglasses had no change in visual ability.

At the two-month follow-up, the group that received eyeglasses reported higher scores for general vision, reading, activities and hobbies and social interaction as well as fewer depressive symptoms.

“This study implies that there are significant, short-term quality-of-life and psychological benefits to providing the most basic of eye care services—namely, spectacle correction—to older adults residing in nursing homes,” the report authors conclude.

You do not have to be in a nursing home to benefit from new, properly prescribed and fitted eyeglasses. They will make your life easier and more enjoyable wherever you live. See better, live better!

Tom Hays is a Board Certified and Registered Optician and a Fellow of the National Academy of Opticianry. He is currently President of Velocity Business Advisors headquartered in Napa, California.