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Association between self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) and self-reported fall-related injury among adults aged ≥ 65 years from five low- and middle-income countries

Abstract

Background

Cataracts may increase risk for falls but studies on this topic from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are scarce. Therefore, we examined the cross-sectional association between self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) and self-reported injurious falls in nationally representative samples of adults aged ≥ 65 years from five LMICs (China, Ghana, India, Mexico, and Russia).

Methods

Data from the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) were analysed. Self-reported information on past 12-month fall-related injury and cataract based on symptoms were collected. Multivariable logistic regression and meta-analyses were conducted to assess associations.

Results

Data on 13,101 people aged ≥ 65 years were analysed [mean (SD) age 72.5 (11.3) years; 45.2% males]. The overall prevalence of self-reported fall-related injury and visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) were 4.9% and 29.4%, respectively. There was a positive association between self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) and fall-related injury (i.e., OR > 1) in all five countries but statistical significance was reached in three: China (OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.08–2.35), India (OR = 1.96; 95% CI = 1.15–3.35), and Russia (OR = 3.58; 95% CI = 2.06–6.24). The pooled OR including all five countries based on a meta-analysis was OR = 1.88 (95% CI = 1.32–2.68).

Conclusions

Self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) were associated with higher odds for self-reported injurious falls among older adults in LMICs. Expanding availability of cataract surgery in LMICs may also have the additional benefit of reducing falls among older people.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2: Country-wise association between self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) and fall-related injury (outcome) estimated by multivariable logistic regression.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

This paper uses data from WHO’s Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE). SAGE is supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging through Interagency Agreements OGHA 04034785, YA1323–08-CN-0020, Y1-AG-1005–01 and through research grants R01-AG034479 and R21-AG034263.

Funding

Dr. Guillermo F. López Sánchez is funded by the European Union – Next Generation EU.

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Correspondence to Guillermo F. López Sánchez or Jae Il Shin.

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Smith, L., López Sánchez, G.F., Veronese, N. et al. Association between self-reported visual symptoms (suggesting cataract) and self-reported fall-related injury among adults aged ≥ 65 years from five low- and middle-income countries. Eye (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-024-03181-3

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