According to a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology poor vision along with related indirect effects of poor health may be linked to an increase in risk of suicide. The study, conducted by Byron L. Lam, M.D., of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, revealed that those with poor vision and indirect effects such as poor health had a risk of suicide that was 18% greater than those that do not suffer from these conditions. In addition to increased risk of suicide, researchers relayed that the psychosocial and health consequences of having impaired vision are many; social seclusion, increased risk of motor accidents, depression, falls, factures, cognitive impairment, and difficulty with activities of daily living are just a few mentioned in the study. Additionally, those with impaired vision have been associated with an overall increase in mortality risk, researchers said. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews findings from the study:
Dr. Lam’s team reviewed data from National Health Interview Surveys (1986-1996) including data on 137,479 noninstitutionalized adults.
Participants reported demographic information along with details of visual impairment and other health conditions. Verified deaths of participants up to 2002 were reported through the National Death Index. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the relationship between reported visual impairment and suicide.
During a mean 11 years of follow-up, there were 200 suicides.
After controlling for survey design, age, sex, race, marital status,
number of non-ocular health conditions, and self-rated health, the direct effect of visual impairment on death from suicide was elevated but not significant (hazard ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 0.90 to 2.49).
However, the approximate indirect effect of visual impairment on suicide via poorer self-rated health was a significant 5% (HR 1.05, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.08).
For the number of non-ocular health conditions, the rate was a significant 12% (HR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.24).