Open Access Open Badges Research article

Psycho-social impact of visual impairment on health-related quality of life among nursing home residents

Mahesh Kumar Dev12*, Nabin Paudel3, Niraj Dev Joshi1, Dev Narayan Shah1 and Shishir Subba4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Institute of Medicine, B. P. Koirala Lions Center for Ophthalmic Studies, Tribhuvan University, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal

2 B.P Eye Foundation, Children’s Hospital for Eye Ear and Rehabilitation Services, Bhaktapur, Nepal

3 Department of Optometry and Vision science, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

4 Central Department of Psychology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:345  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-345

Published: 15 August 2014



Visual impairment (VI) affects physical, psychological, and emotional well-being, and social life as well. The purpose of this exploratory study was to assess the psycho-social impact of VI on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among nursing home residents.


This cross-sectional study involved 272 residents of 60 years or older residing in seven nursing homes of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Comprehensive ocular examinations, including near and distance vision assessment and refractions were carried out. VI was defined as visual acuity (VA) less than 6/18 in the better eye. Residents were divided into two groups: one group did not have VI (in whom VA was greater than or equal to 6/18 in the better eye), and the other had VI (in whom VA was worse than 6/18 in the better eye).

Face-to-face interviews were conducted filling out a 36-item The Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form (SF-36) questionnaire. The SF-36 questionnaire was scored according to the scoring algorithm SF-36 subscales.


The mean age of residents was 74.68 ± 8.19 years (range, 60–99 years) and the majority were female (78.68%). The mean composite score of SF-36 was 46.98 ± 13.08. VI detrimentally affected scores of both the physical and the mental components, but the impact of VI was slightly greater for the physical component than that for the mental component. There was a trend towards a lower composite score as well as each subscale score of the SF-36 in participants with VI than in those without VI.


VI has a negative effect on HRQoL. HRQoL is reduced among nursing home residents and the reduction in the HRQoL bears a positive association with VI.

Nursing home; Quality of life; Visual impairment; SF-36; Kathmandu