The consequences of self-reported vision change in later-life: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Katey Matthews, James Nazroo, Jennifer Whillans

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Using longitudinal data, we investigate whether deterioration and improvement in self-reported vision among people aged 50 years and older in England experience subsequent changes in various aspects of economic, psychological and social well-being.

Study design
Longitudinal random effects modelling.

We used six waves of the biennial English Longitudinal Study of Ageing spanning 2002–2012. Self-reported vision change was classed as an increase or decrease in self-reported level of vision between each wave and effects on depression, satisfaction with life, quality of life, social engagement and equivalized income were examined. Models were adjusted for health, employment and wealth.

All well-being outcomes worsened among respondents experiencing deterioration in self-reported vision, and declined most among individuals with the poorest self-reported vision at baseline and follow-up. Results were significant in fully adjusted models for those deteriorating from optimal to suboptimal vision levels. Improvement in self-reported vision was associated with significantly better satisfaction with life, quality of life and social engagement when the improvement was from suboptimal to optimal vision levels.

Preventing deterioration in vision is the best means of ensuring well-being is not negatively affected by changes to sight. In addition, ensuring vision problems are corrected where possible may lead to improvements in well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Early online date10 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute
  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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