Screening for Impaired Visual Acuity in Older Adults: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force

Roger Chou, Christina Bougatsos, Rebecca Jungbauer, Sara Grusing, Ian Blazina, Shelley Selph, Daniel E. Jonas, Shandiz Tehrani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: A 2016 review for the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found that effective treatments are available for refractive errors, cataracts, and wet (advanced neovascular) or dry (atrophic) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but there were no differences between visual screening vs no screening on visual acuity or other outcomes. Objective: To update the 2016 review on screening for impaired visual acuity in older adults, to inform the USPSTF. Data Sources: Ovid MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (to February 2021); surveillance through January 21, 2022. Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials and controlled observational studies on screening, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors (wet AMD), and antioxidant vitamins and minerals (dry AMD); studies on screening diagnostic accuracy. Data Extraction and Synthesis: One investigator abstracted data and a second checked accuracy. Two investigators independently assessed study quality. Results: Twenty-five studies (N = 33586) were included (13 trials, 11 diagnostic accuracy studies, and 1 systematic review [19 trials]). Four trials (n = 4819) found no significant differences between screening vs no screening in visual acuity or other outcomes. Visual acuity tests (3 studies; n = 6493) and screening question (3 studies; n = 5203) were associated with suboptimal diagnostic accuracy. For wet AMD, 4 trials (n = 2086) found VEGF inhibitors significantly associated with greater likelihood of 15 or more letters visual acuity gain (risk ratio [RR], 2.92 [95% CI, 1.20-7.12]; I2= 76%; absolute risk difference [ARD], 10%) and less than 15 letters visual acuity loss (RR, 1.46 [95% CI, 1.22-1.75]; I2= 80%; ARD, 27%) vs sham treatment, with no increased risk of serious harms. For dry AMD, a systematic review (19 trials) found antioxidant multivitamins significantly associated with decreased risk of progression to late AMD (3 trials, n = 2445; odds ratio [OR], 0.72 [95% CI, 0.58-0.90]) and 3 lines or more visual acuity loss (1 trial, n = 1791; OR, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.62-0.96]) vs placebo. Zinc was significantly associated with increased risk of genitourinary events and beta carotene with increased risk of lung cancer in former smokers; other serious harms were infrequent. Conclusions and Relevance: This review found that effective treatments are available for common causes of impaired visual acuity in older adults. However, direct evidence found no significant association between vision screening vs no screening in primary care and improved visual outcomes..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2129-2140
Number of pages12
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume327
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 7 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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