Health burden associated with visual impairment in Singapore: the Singapore epidemiology of eye disease study.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of visual impairment (VI) on health-related quality of life and to compare the health burden of VI and other health conditions in Singapore. DESIGN: Population-based cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS: We studied the 10 009 adults (3353 Chinese, 3397 Indians, and 3259 Malays) who underwent a comprehensive eye assessment and completed the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaire in the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Disease Study. METHODS: We estimated the effects of VI, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia on the EQ-5D index score using linear regression models and the association between VI and self-reported EQ-5D health problems using logistic regression models. We compared prevalence-based quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) loss associated with VI and other health conditions. For each condition, QALY loss was calculated for 100 000 persons in 1 year using associated reduction in EQ-5D index score estimated in regression analysis as disutility. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The EQ-5D index score and annual QALY loss. RESULTS: The EQ-5D index score decreased with increasing VI severity in all 3 ethnicities. For example, after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, the difference in EQ-5D index score between adults with bilateral severe VI and those without VI was -0.044 (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.089 to 0.001) in Chinese, -0.127 (95% CI, -0.237 to -0.017) in Indians, and -0.085 (95% CI, -0.148 to -0.022) in Malays. In all 3 ethnicities, VI was associated with reporting of problems in mobility (e.g., odds ratio [OR], 3.69 for Chinese with bilateral severe VI; 95% CI, 1.21-12.13) and usual activities (e.g., OR, 6.51 for Chinese with bilateral severe VI; 95% CI, 1.59-26.58). In Indians, VI was also associated with anxiety or depression (e.g., OR, 2.68 for bilateral severe VI; 95% CI, 1.11-6.50). The annual QALY loss associated with VI was 511.8 in Chinese, 608.8 in Indians, and 706.7 in Malays, greater than that associated with other health conditions examined in this study. CONCLUSIONS: Visual impairment is associated with substantial health burden among Asians in Singapore. The relatively high burden of VI highlights the importance of VI prevention. The ethnic difference exhibited in this burden warrants further study.
Wang, X; Lamoureux, E; Zheng, Y; Ang, M; Wong, TY; Luo, N
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