Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
(December 1, 2008) –
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the elderly represent well over half of the
Researchers at the
A surprising 39% of study participants were found to have significant visual impairment, compared to 28% of healthy people over 70 who experience irreparable visual damage. Specifically, 96% had visual acuity levels less than age-expected values, 37% had poor contrast sensitivity and 31% failed the depth perception test.
Jassal does not believe that dialysis itself causes retinal
damage but says the study’s findings underscore the high burden of vascular and
other diseases born by dialysis patients.
“As clinicians, we don’t necessarily appreciate what loss of
vision means to our patients,” says Jassal. “If we’re explaining monthly lab
results by pointing to a chart and they can’t see what we’re referring to, they
are missing out on key information that they need in order to stay on top of
their own health care.”
Impaired vision is strongly associated with accidental falls
which are in turn related to death, hospitalization and long term institutional
care, costing the
“The degree to which the study participants suffer from
vision damage, particularly depth perception problems, can have a major impact
on their lives. Depth perception is necessary for basic activities, such as
climbing stairs and avoiding obstacles when walking. Especially important for
dialysis patients, loss of depth perception affects their ability to follow
critical medication regimens,” continued Jassal.
Small Steps Can Make A Big Difference
Simple measures may help ease the burden of vision
impairment, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Improved lighting in
dialysis units, large magnifiers, and modified educational materials with large
type and high contrasts can be inexpensive and effective ways to improve
The National Kidney
Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney and urinary tract
diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals and families
affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for
To learn more about kidney failure and treatment options, including various types of dialysis, contact the National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org or (800)622-9010.
Posted under: Research Studies
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