PURPOSE. To examine the visual status of a cohort of older adults on an orthopedic unit to determine their level of available vision to complete everyday activities in the hospital setting.
METHOD. A convenience sample of 50 people was recruited. A visual history was obtained, and participants’ glasses were inspected. Distance acuity, reading acuity, and contrast sensitivity were assessed using standardized screening charts.
RESULTS. Of participants, 26% did not have their glasses with them until prompted, and 85% had glasses in poor condition. When tested wearing their habitual correction, 6% had low vision, 2% were blind, 41% had reading acuities worse than 20/25, and 28% had contrast sensitivity deficits.
CONCLUSION. Visual impairment is prevalent in older adults, yet visual function is not routinely screened in hospitals. Occupational therapists should routinely inquire about patients’ visual status, inspect their glasses, and encourage regular eye examinations. Failure to address vision could lead to inaccurate evaluation results.