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Self-reported vision impairment and incident prefrailty and frailty in English community-dwelling older adults: findings from a 4-year follow-up study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sheena Ramsay



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2017. Background Little is known about vision impairment and frailty in older age. We investigated the relationship of poor vision and incident prefrailty and frailty. Methods Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses with 4-year follow-up of 2836 English communitydwellers aged ≥60 years. Vision impairment was defined as poor self-reported vision. A score of 0 out of the 5 Fried phenotype components was defined as non-frail, 1-2 prefrail and ≥3 as frail. Participants non-frail at baseline were followed-up for incident prefrailty and frailty. Participants prefrail at baseline were followed-up for incident frailty. Results 49% of participants (n=1396) were non-frail, 42% (n=1178) prefrail and 9% (n=262) frail. At followup, there were 367 new cases of prefrailty and frailty among those non-frail at baseline, and 133 new cases of frailty among those prefrail at baseline. In crosssectional analysis, vision impairment was associated with frailty (age-adjustedandsex-adjusted OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.95 to 3.30). The association remained after further adjustment for wealth, education, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, falls, cognition and depression. In longitudinal analysis, compared with non-frail participants with no vision impairment, non-frail participants with vision impairment had twofold increased risks of prefrailty or frailty at follow-up (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.32 to 3.24). The association remained after further adjustment. Prefrail participants with vision impairment did not have greater risks of becoming frail at follow-up. Conclusion Non-frail older adults who experience poor vision have increased risks of becoming prefrail and frail over 4 years. This is of public health importance as both vision impairment and frailty affect a large number of older adults.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Liljas AEM, Carvalho LA, Papachristou E, De Oliveira C, Wannamethee SG, Ramsay SE, Walters KR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Year: 2017

Volume: 71

Issue: 11

Pages: 1053-1058

Online publication date: 16/10/2017

Acceptance date: 06/07/2017

Date deposited: 21/05/2018

ISSN (print): 0143-005X

ISSN (electronic): 1470-2738

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-209207


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