Dialysis Dims Some Elderly Patients’ Vision

You might expect to experience some degree of vision loss as you age. But new study results show that dialysis patients may experience a more severe degree of vision loss.

According to a Reuter’s health report, researchers from the University of Toronto examined 159 dialysis patients, aged 65 or older. The patients were evaluated for visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and depth perception. They also used the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) to test the patients’ brain function.

The researchers measured the participants’ clearness of vision, along with their ability to distinguish details and shapes. They found that more than 95 percent of these patients had levels below those expected for their age. They also discovered that nearly 40 percent of the subjects met the criteria for legal blindness!

The patients with poor vision scores also had a tendency toward reduced scores on the MMSE. Researchers said these findings were not unexpected—considering the high rate of diabetes and high blood pressure among dialysis patients.

“Simple measures, such as improved lighting and modified educational materials, are inexpensive and effective changes that may be easily implemented in all dialysis units to optimize patient functioning,” the authors concluded.

The study results were published in the December 2008 American Journal of Kidney Diseases.