Principal Investigator

Visual impairment is common in older adults and is associated with negative outcomes such as falls, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. Because half of all vision loss in the U.S. is preventable or treatable, identifying the burden and consequences of age-related visual impairment can lead to interventions to promote access to eye care and improve population health. Administrative claims data (e.g. Medicare) are an important tool in public health research and have been used to study disease prevalence, healthcare utilization, costs, effectiveness, and outcomes across many areas of medicine. However, their application to the study of visual impairment and eye disease has been limited by the fact that the most important clinical outcomes in ophthalmology (namely, visual acuity and vision-related quality of life) are not captured in administrative claims data. In this study, we will link Medicare claims data with questionnaire and examination data from the
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to develop and validate a novel visual impairment comorbidity index to predict age-related visual impairment using Medicare diagnosis and procedure codes. This tool will facilitate a new generation of population-based research on the prevalence and health effects of age-related visual impairment using administrative claims datasets.

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