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Journal of Mental Health and Aging, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1996
Alan R. Morse, PhD, FAAO
Bruce P. Rosenthal, OD, FAAO
The prevalence of severe visual impairment increases from 14.3% for those 65 to 74 years of age to 27.5% for those 85 years old and older. By age 75, almost 95% of the population requires some optical correction to maintain visual function, and more than 25% of the population older than age 85 has severe visual impairment. Such patients present special challenges in both evaluation and in working to maximize their usable vision. Performance on most common vision measures is affected by cognitive function, with ability to perform visual tasks at least partly resulting from the severity of the impairment. Although sensory loss is a well known concomitant of aging, its role as a determinant of patient functioning is too often overlooked. Adequate assessment of vision is a first step toward understanding the role played by vision in the functioning of patients with cognitive impairment.
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