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  • Link Between Visual Impairment and Depression

    By By Jean Shaw
    Selected and reviewed by Neil M. Bressler, MD, and Deputy Editors

    Journal Highlights

    JAMA Ophthalmology, July 2021

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    Parravano et al. evaluated the prev­alence of depression in patients with visual impairment who seek eye care. They found that 1 in 4 of these patients experience depression, making it a health problem in patients with such common eye diseases as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

    For this meta-analysis, the researcher evaluated 27 studies with a median sam­ple size of 125 patients (range, 42-990 patients). All told, data on 6,992 pa­tients (18 years or older) were included. The patients’ mean age was 76 years, and the majority (60%) were female.

    Although the studies adopted var­ious definitions of visual impairment and used different tools to assess de­pression, the pooled analysis indicated that the prevalence of depression was high both in clinic-based studies and in those conducted in rehabilitation settings. Moreover, the prevalence did not vary by the extent of disease severity.

    Thus, the researchers said, “the results of our review suggest the need for depression screening in patients attending eye clinics who are 65 years or older and have mild to severe visual loss, regardless of comorbidities.”

    In addition to this increased need for screening, the researchers noted that all eye care professionals need experi­ence not only in recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression but also in determining which patients need to be referred for mental health treatment.

    The original article can be found here.