4 years ago

Self-reported vision impairment and incident prefrailty and frailty in English community-dwelling older adults: findings from a 4-year follow-up study


Little is known about vision impairment and frailty in older age. We investigated the relationship of poor vision and incident prefrailty and frailty.


Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses with 4-year follow-up of 2836 English community-dwellers aged ≥60 years. Vision impairment was defined as poor self-reported vision. A score of 0 out of the 5 Fried phenotype components was defined as non-frail, 1–2 prefrail and ≥3 as frail. Participants non-frail at baseline were followed-up for incident prefrailty and frailty. Participants prefrail at baseline were followed-up for incident frailty.


49% of participants (n=1396) were non-frail, 42% (n=1178) prefrail and 9% (n=262) frail. At follow-up, there were 367 new cases of prefrailty and frailty among those non-frail at baseline, and 133 new cases of frailty among those prefrail at baseline. In cross-sectional analysis, vision impairment was associated with frailty (age-adjustedandsex-adjusted OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.95 to 3.30). The association remained after further adjustment for wealth, education, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, falls, cognition and depression. In longitudinal analysis, compared with non-frail participants with no vision impairment, non-frail participants with vision impairment had twofold increased risks of prefrailty or frailty at follow-up (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.32 to 3.24). The association remained after further adjustment. Prefrail participants with vision impairment did not have greater risks of becoming frail at follow-up.


Non-frail older adults who experience poor vision have increased risks of becoming prefrail and frail over 4 years. This is of public health importance as both vision impairment and frailty affect a large number of older adults.

Publisher URL: http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/71/11/1053

DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-209207

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