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Brighter Light Improves Seniors' Reading Vision

Improved lighting, ophthalmic care could reduce visual disability in millions of older adults

MONDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Improved lighting and optimal ophthalmologic care could significantly reduce visual disability in older adults, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Steven M. Albert, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues assessed ambient acuity with a near reading card, standard lighting acuity and retinal acuity with a retinal acuity meter, and self-reported difficulties in activities of daily living in 299 community-dwelling older adults.

The researchers found that mean logMAR acuities were 0.44 (20/56) for ambient acuity, 0.33 (20/44) for standard lighting acuity, and 0.19 (20/31) for retinal acuity. With better lighting alone, 63 percent of patients had a vision improvement of at least two lines of letters (0.23 logMAR units). And 61 percent had an improvement of two-and-a-half lines of letters (0.25 logMAR units) with diagnosis and treatment of an ocular condition.

"If this sample is representative, then perhaps 4.5 million elderly Americans living independently could see appreciatively better with improved lighting and ophthalmic care," the authors conclude.

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