PURPOSE: To examine the relationship between reported visual impairment and unintentional injury mortality. DESIGN: Mortality linkage study of a population-based survey. METHODS: Mortality linkage through 1997 of 116,796 adult participants, aged 18 years and older, from the 1986 to 1994 National Health Interview Survey was analyzed with respect to reported visual impairment using Cox regression models. RESULTS: The average follow-up was 7.0 years, and 295 unintentional injury deaths were identified. After controlling for survey design, age, sex, and the presence and number of eye diseases, participants with severe, bilateral visual impairment were at increased risk of death relative to participants without visual impairment (hazard ratio: 7.4; 95% confidence interval: 3.0-17.8). CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide evidence that severe, bilateral visual impairment is associated with an increased risk of unintentional mortality among adults in the United States.
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