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PCPs Have Important Role to Play in Senior Visual Health

Role includes providing referrals, promoting behavioral modifications and low-vision rehab

MONDAY, Feb. 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Primary care physicians (PCPs) can play an important role in preserving visual health and maximizing quality of life (QOL) for elderly patients with visual loss, according to a review published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kyle V. Marra, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature on visual impairment in elderly adults. They describe optimal management of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by providing information on indications, risk factors, referral guidelines, and treatments for people with irreversible vision loss.

The researchers found that the ability of PCPs to identify early indications of cataracts and AMD in individuals at risk of vision loss was critical for early diagnosis and management. By issuing aptly timed referrals and encouraging behavior modifications to reduce risk factors, PCPs can help preserve vision. PCPs can improve the QOL of individuals with uncorrectable vision loss with knowledge of referral guidelines for soliciting low-vision rehabilitation services, visual aids, and community support resources.

“By offering appropriately timed referrals, promoting behavioral modifications, and allocating low-vision care resources, PCPs may play a critical role in preserving visual health and enhancing the QOL for the elderly population,” the authors write.

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