Home > GOLDEN YEARS > Common Disease > Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment

Introduction

About 42% of elderly over age of 60 years in Malaysia are estimated to be visually impaired or having low vision of both eyes, 70% of such cases are potentially remediable.

Symptoms

Common causes of visual impairment:

  • Refractive errors (longsighted), cataract, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinal disease

Complications

Physical

  • Accidents
  • Falls
  • Fractures
  • Reduced functional status
  • Increased dependency
  • Poor quality of life
  • Social isolation
  • Depression

Treatment

Non drug treatment

  • Refractive errors–correction with glasses
  • Cataract–cataract removal and lens replacement
  • Glaucoma –reduction of intra ocular pressure with medications or surgery in some cases
  • Age related macular degeneration – Laser treatment (photocoagulation) and visual aids
  • Diabetic retinal disease – good blood glucose control and advance stages may require Laser treatment

Prevention

  • Diabetes – early screening and optimal treatment of diabetes
  • Glaucoma – early screening for those who have family history of the disease

Rehabilitation

  • Visual aids example: corrective lenses
  • Assessment and advice by occupational therapist and physiotherapist regarding environmental adaptation and safety awareness

Reference:

Zainal M, Ismail SM, Ropilah AR, et al. Prevalence of blindness and low vision in Malaysian population results from the National Eye Servey. Br J Opthamol, 2002, 86, 951-6.

Last Review : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Joseph Ngeh
: Dr. Mohd Daud Che Yusof
: Dr. R. Sukumar a/l Rajaretnam
Reviewed : Dr. Mohd Daud Che Yusof