Visual impairment in elderly patients with hip fracture: Causes and associations

Alan Cox*, A. Blaikie, C. J. MacEwen, D. Jones, K. Thompson, D. Holding, T. Sharma, S. Miller, S. Dobson, R. Sanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To evaluate the current visual status and ophthalmic history of a sample of elderly patients with fractured neck of femur and to study the relationship between visual status and demographic factors. Methods: A four-centre study of all patients admitted to hospital with fractured neck of femur. The setting was two district (Ayr, Dunfermline) and two teaching (Glasgow, Dundee) hospitals in Scotland. The study examined 537 patients aged 65 years and over admitted with acute fractured neck of femur to hospital. Results: Bilateral visual impairment (binocular visual acuity worse than 6/12) was found in 239 of 518 patients (46%). Of this group, the principal causes for visual deficit were untreated cataract (49%), macular degeneration (21%), uncorrected refractive error (17%), and glaucoma (3%). The visually impaired group were more likely to have symptomatic visual complaints (58 vs 26%), however, were less likely to be under optometric care (71 vs 85%). A higher proportion of the group with visual impairment lived in areas of social deprivation (40 vs 26%). Conclusions: Patients with fractured neck of femur represent a frail elderly group that have poorer vision than that documented in any other elderly population. The visual defect was potentially remediable in the majority of cases but this group of individuals are not generally in touch with the ophthalmic services. Social deprivation appears to be associated with this groups' inability to access ophthalmic care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-656
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Falls
  • Fractured neck of femur patients
  • Social deprivation
  • Visual impairment


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