Purpose: Uncorrected refractive error (URE) is the leading cause of impaired vision in older adults and has been associated with adverse health outcomes. Here, we investigate the association between URE and frailty in older adults. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants ≥60 years (1999–2006 cycles). URE was defined as visual acuity worse than 6/12 that can be improved with correction, and prefrailty and frailty were defined as meeting 1–2 and ≥3 of 4 components of a modified physical frailty phenotype. The 5-item phenotype (including slowness) was analyzed in a subset of participants with available data. Propensity score adjustment was used to address the imbalance of potential confounders (including age) between URE groups. Results: In this sample (n = 5,265), 6% of participants had URE (n = 373). In fully adjusted propensity score-based models, individuals with URE were more likely to be prefrail (OR = 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0–2.0) and frail (OR = 3.2; 95% CI: 1.3–7.4) than those without URE using the 4-item phenotype. For the 2,486 participants with 5-item phenotype data, individuals with URE were more likely to be frail (OR = 3.0; 95% CI: 1.2–7.5); however, the association with prefrailty was not statistically significant (OR = 1.8; 95% CI: 0.9–3.6). Conclusion: In this population-based sample, older adults with URE were more likely to be frail than those without URE, even after rigorous control for confounders, including age.
- uncorrected refractive error
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