173382 Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding eye health and disease among older adults: Results of a national telephone survey

Monday, October 27, 2008

Neyal J. Ammary-Risch, MPH, CHES , National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
William Scarbrough, PhD , Macro International Inc., Calverton, MD
Harry T. Kwon, PhD, MPH, CHES , Macro International Inc., Rockville, MD
Objective: To measure older adults' knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) about eye health and disease. Method: A national probability sample of 3,180 adults aged 18 and older responded to a computer-assisted telephone interview (jointly funded by the National Eye Institute and Lions Clubs International Foundation) about general and eye health, and knowledge, experiences, and attitudes about eye disease and examinations. Study results were weighted to 2000 Census parameters. Subanalyses were conducted to examine KAP for adults aged 65 and older. Results: Results show that more than 70% of adults aged 65 and older describe their health as good, very good, or excellent; 94% report wearing some type of eyewear; more than 70% report loss of eyesight as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 indicating greatest impact; and more than 40% report ever being told by an eye care provider that they have an eye condition or disease. Regarding knowledge, most older adults are familiar with common eye diseases; however, they lack key information that can facilitate early detection and treatment, in particular, that glaucoma and diabetic eye disease usually have no early warning signs. Conclusions/Implications: Visual impairment is closely associated with fair or poor health status and restricted activity, ultimately affecting functional living for older adults. To reduce visual impairment and blindness resulting from eye diseases, the public must be educated about eye diseases, possible symptoms, and the potential for blindness and loss of vision in the absence of early detection and treatment.

Learning Objectives:
• Discuss differences in knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to eye health and disease among older adults of different ages (65 to 74 years and 75 years and older), genders, and races or ethnicities. • Articulate areas that remain of concern regarding older adults’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices about eye health and disease. • Recognize the importance that regular eye exams are necessary even in the absence of symptoms to help ensure optimal and functional living for older adults.

Keywords: Aging, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I extensively reviewed the reported findings and final report and will be responsible for developing the presentation. I do NOT have a relevant personal financial relationship with a commercial entity that benefits me and may ultimately bias the presentation of the content.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.