Prevalance of functional blindness, visual impairment, and related functional deficits among elderly Mexican Americans

A. R. DiNuzzo, S. A. Black, M. J. Lichtenstein, K. S. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. This report describes the prevalence and correlates of functional blindness and visual impairment among older Mexican Americans, using data on 2800 respondents from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly. Methods. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between corrected bilateral distant vision and sociodemographic characteristics, selected health conditions, self-reported health status, health care utilization, and functional dependence on the basis of assistance needed for basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADLs). Results. Using a modified Snellen test for distance visual acuity, 5% of older Mexican Americans were found to be functionally blind, and 13.5% were found to be visually impaired. Vision loss was significantly associated with older age, lower education, hypertension, diabetes, poor self-rated health, and hospitalization during the year prior to the interview. Over 50% of functionally blind subjects required assistance with at least one basic ADL, compared with 15% of those who were visually impaired and 8% of those who were not visually impaired. Conclusions. The prevalence of functional blindness in this sample of elderly Mexican Americans was higher than reported for the general elderly population, yet they also have higher rates of adequate vision because of the low prevalence of visual impairment. The results suggest a need for more research on the prevalence and impact of functional blindness and visual impairment on the health of older Mexican Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M548-M551
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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