Patient Awareness of Cataract and Age-related Macular Degeneration among the Korean Elderly: A Population-based Study
Purpose: Age-related eye disease is often considered part of natural aging. Lack of awareness of eye conditions can result in missed treatment. We investigated the rates of awareness of cataract and age-related macular degeneration, the most common age-related eye-diseases, and the associated factors among elderly Koreans. Methods: We identified 7,403 study subjects (≥40 years old) with cataract or age-related macular degeneration based on ophthalmic examination results during the 5th Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 2010 and 2012. We assessed whether patients were aware of their eye condition based on a previous diagnosis by a physician. Results: The average awareness rate over the 3-year study period was 23.69% in subjects with cataract and 1.45% in subjects with age-related macular degeneration. Logistic regression analysis showed that patients with cataract were more likely to recognize their condition if they had myopia (odds ratio, 2.08), hyperopia (odds ratio, 1.33), family history of eye disease (odds ratio, 1.44), or a past eye examination (odds ratio, 4.07-29.10). The presence of diabetes mellitus was also a significant predictor of patient awareness of cataract(odds ratio, 1.88). Conclusions: Poor patient recognition of eye disease among the Korean elderly highlights the seriousness of this potential public health problem in our aging society. Pre-existing eye-related conditions and diabetes were significant predictors of awareness; therefore, patients in frequent contact with their doctors have a greater chance of detecting eye disease.
Materials and Methods