Mild Visual Impairment and Its Impact on Self-Care Among Older Adults

Rachel O’Conor*, Samuel G. Smith, Laura M. Curtis, Julia Yoshino Benavente, Daniel P. Vicencio, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence of mild visual impairment (MVI) among urban older adults in primary care settings, and ascertain whether MVI was a risk factor for inadequate performance on self-care health tasks. Method: We used data from a cohort of 900 older adults recruited from primary care clinics. Self-management skills were assessed using the Comprehensive Health Activities Scale, and vision with corrective lenses was assessed with the Snellen. We modeled visual acuity predicting health task performance with linear regression. Results: Normal vision was associated with better overall health task performance (p =.004). Individuals with normal vision were more likely to recall health information conveyed via multimedia (p =.02) and during a spoken encounter (p =.04), and were more accurate in dosing multi-drug regimens (p =.05). Discussion: MVI may challenge the performance of self-care behaviors. Health care systems and clinicians should consider even subtle detriments in visual acuity when designing health information, materials, and devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-341
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • mild visual impairment
  • self-care
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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