To describe the associations between sociodemographic, lifestyle, and medical risk factors and visual impairment in a Southeast Asian population.
Population-based cross-sectional study of 3280 (78.7% response rate) Malay Singaporeans aged 40 to 80 years. Participants underwent a standardized interview, in which detailed sociodemographic histories were obtained, and clinical assessments for presenting and best-corrected visual acuity. Visual impairment (logMAR > 0.30) was classified as unilateral (1 eye impaired) or bilateral (both eyes impaired). Analyses used multivariate-adjusted multinomial logistic regression.
Older age and lack of formal education was associated with increased odds of both unilateral and bilateral visual impairment based on presenting and best-corrected visual acuity. The odds doubled for each decade older, and lower education increased the odds 1.59- to 2.83-fold. Bilateral visual impairment was associated with being unemployed (odds ratio [OR], 1.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30-2.60), widowed status (OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.13-2.01), and higher systolic blood pressure (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.44-2.66). Diabetes was associated with unilateral (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.10-1.95) and bilateral (OR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.23-2.32) visual impairment using best-corrected visual acuity.
Older age, lower education, unemployment, being widowed, diabetes, and hypertension were independently associated with bilateral visual impairment. Public health interventions should be targeted to these at-risk populations.