Purpose: To examine the association between visual impairment (VI) and morbidity. Methods: Using pooled, annual population-based household interview survey data (n = 140,366) from the 1986-1996 National Health Interview Survey, covariate-adjusted, gender and age group specific logistic regression analyses were used to examine associations between VI and five morbidity indicators: restricted activity days, bed rest days, doctor visits, hospitalizations, and self-rated health. Results: After controlling for educational status, race and the number of reported non-ocular health conditions, fair or poor health status (compared to excellent, very good, or good health status) was generally more strongly associated with severe, bilateral VI (range of odds ratios [OR's]: 2.14-7.24) than with some VI (OR's: 1.45-2.21). Severe, bilateral VI was also associated with more frequent doctor and hospital visits among adults 18-64 years of age (range of OR's: 1.69-3.34), and restricted activity and bed rest days among males 45 years and older (range of OR's: 1.95-3.69). Conclusions: The present findings, in conjunction with other studies documenting the impact of VI on morbidity outcomes, indicate that an increased focus on the provision of eye care services will be necessary to address the growing burden of VI in aging societies.
- Eye care services
- National health interview survey
- Visual impairment
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