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Grandmother, what bad eyes you have!

May 31, 2016

Senior citizens living in retirement homes often lack adequate ophthalmological care, according to a study by Luisa Thederan and co-authors published in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztbl Int 2016; 113. 323-7). Almost 21% of the surveyed residents were last seen by an ophthalmologist more than 5 years ago, while 39.9% were unable to provide any information about past ophthalmological examinations.

In 21.7% of the examined residents, the ophthalmological findings were indicative of an eye disease requiring acute treatment. In some cases, even reversible eye conditions had not been treated. The study showed that after refractive correction the mean decimal visual acuity of the retirement home residents improved from 0.25 to 0.33.

The authors examined the visual acuity, anterior segment, ocular fundus, and intraocular pressure of the 203 residents living in retirement homes in the Würzburg area in Germany. The most common diagnoses of the anterior segment were dry eye (78.8%), cataract (43.3%), posterior capsule opacity (7.4%), glaucoma (12.3%), and eyelid malpositions (12.3 %). Ocular fundus examination revealed dry age-related macular degeneration in 22.2%, fresh wet age-related macular degeneration in 3.4%, and epiretinal gliosis in 3.4% of the examined residents.

Thederan and co-authors call for improvements to the ophthalmological care of residents in retirement homes by optimizing the collaboration between all healthcare professionals involved in the care of senior citizens.

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

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