Importance of eyeglasses for nursing home residents

Place your parent in a nursing home and soon the staff reports that she lost her socks, needs more sweaters, can’t find one shoe.

So, it’s easy to put off replacing the missing eyeglasses. After all, does a demented person really have to keep up with reading the news?

The answer is yes, and here’s why.

First, the details.

  • Nursing home residents, 55 years or older, who had blurred vision and needed eyeglasses were studied.
  • They were randomly assigned to immediate spectacle correction or delayed correction (after the 2-month follow-up visit).

And, the results.

  • At the 2-month follow-up, the eyeglass group had significantly better scores for general vision, reading, activities/hobbies and social interaction.
  • They also displayed significantly fewer depressive symptoms.

The bottom line?
The researchers concluded “There are significant, short-term quality-of-life and psychological benefits to providing the most basic of eye care services — namely, spectacle correction — to older adults residing in nursing homes.

Caregivers take note. I think the importance of clear vision applies to the elderly who live independently as well. Precautions should be taken to ensure that the glasses don’t become separated from the wearer.

11/25/07 14:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.