Healthy Aging & Clinical Care in the Elderly

Ocular Health of the Emerging Elderly Population in Ghana: Evidence From a Peri-urban Community

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Healthy Aging & Clinical Care in the Elderly 2013:5 21-31

Original Research

Published on 07 Jul 2013

DOI: 10.4137/HACCE.S12230

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Purpose: As people age, the risk of visual impairment increases because the major eye diseases that cause visual disorders are age-related. By the age of 65, 1 in 3 people suffer from some degree of eye disease that contributes to impaired vision. This study assessed ocular disorders, visual impairment, and blindness among an elderly population at Yamoransa, Ghana.

Method: A community based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 170 elderly (aged 60 years and over) persons. The research participants underwent a complete ophthalmic examination that involved visual acuity, external, and dilated internal examinations.

Results: The mean age of the respondents was 70 years with 58.2% being females. Visual impairment and blindness were found among 58.7% and 5.9%, respectively, according to their presented visual acuity; these decreased to 45.3% and 5.2%, respectively, after optical correction. About 68.3% of the respondents had poor near vision with only 40% having near reading corrections. The major causes of visual impairment were cataract (42.5%), uncorrected refractive errors (21.8%), retinal disorders (11.4%), and glaucoma (9.8%). Among the elderly with bilateral blindness, cataract was the main cause. Multinomial logistic regression showed that sex had a higher likelihood of being associated with visual disorders compared with age and education (P = 0.001); similarly females, older patients, and the those with no education had higher odds ratios.

Conclusion: The need for increased health education, regular eye examination, and the need to subsidize surgical and refractive eye care services for the elderly in Ghana cannot be over emphasized.




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