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Hajek, André; Brettschneider, Christian; Lühmann, Dagmar; Eisele, Marion; Mamone, Silke; Wiese, Birgitt; Weyerer, Siegfried; Werle, Jochen; Pentzek, Michael; Fuchs, Angela; Riedel-Heller, Steffi G.; Luck, Tobias; Bickel, Horst; Weeg, Dagmar; Koppara, Alexander; Wagner, Michael; Scherer, Martin; Maier, Wolfgang; König, Hans-Helmut (2016): Effect of Visual Impairment on Physical and Cognitive Function in Old Age: Findings of a Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study in Germany. In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 64, No. 11: pp. 2311-2316
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Abstract

ObjectivesTo examine how visual impairment affects physical and cognitive function in old age. DesignA longitudinal population-based prospective cohort study. SettingGeneral practitioner offices at six study centers in Germany. They were observed every 1.5 years over four waves. ParticipantsIndividuals aged 77-101 at follow-up Wave 2 (N = 2,394). MeasurementsPhysical and cognitive function were assessed using an adapted scale that had been previously developed, and visual impairment was rated on a Likert scale (none, mild, severe or profound). ResultsAdjusting for sociodemographic factors and comorbidity, linear fixed-effects regression showed that the onset of severe visual impairment was associated with a decline in physical function score in the total sample ( = -0.15, P = .01) and in women ( = -.15, P = .03). Moreover, the onset of severe visual impairment was associated with decline in cognitive function score in the total sample ( = -0.38, P < .001) and in women ( = -0.38, P < .001) and men ( = -0.37, P = .001). ConclusionVisual impairment affects physical and cognitive function in old age. Interventional strategies to postpone visual impairment may contribute to maintaining physical and cognitive function.