Eye Health

11 March 2013

Vision loss linked to depression

People with depression are more likely to have self-reported vision loss, says study.

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People with depression are more likely to have self-reported vision loss, according to a new study.

Researchers analysed data from more than 10 000 adults aged 20 and older who took part in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2008.

The rate of depression was about 11% among people with self-reported vision loss and about 5% among those who did not report vision loss, according to the study, which was published online in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

After accounting for a number of factors - including age, sex and general health - the researchers concluded there was a significant association between self-reported vision loss and depression. The study did not, however, show that one causes the other.

"This study provides further evidence from a national sample to generalise the relationship between depression and vision loss to adults across the age spectrum," said Dr Xinzhi Zhang, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and colleagues in a journal news release.

"Better recognition of depression among people reporting reduced ability to perform routine activities of daily living due to vision loss is warranted," they concluded.

More information

Prevent Blindness America outlines signs of eye problems in adults.

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Optometrist

Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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