Whillans, J. & Nazroo, J. (2014) Assessment of visual impairment: The relationship between self-reported vision and 'gold-standard' measured visual acuity, British Journal of Visual Impairment, 32(3), pp. 236-248.


Self-report assessments of health are commonly favoured indicators used in large-scale nationally, representative surveys as they can be readily and cost-effectively collected from large numbers of people; however, subjective assessments have been criticised. Using data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), this article examines the relationship between self-reported vision and measured visual acuity (Logarithm of the Minimal Angle of Resolution [logMAR]). The analysis indicates that normal vision is well captured by a subjective response, but there is a slight over-identification of visual impairment using self-reported vision. These findings are discussed in relation to social patterning of misreporting. Given the simplicity of the self-report assessment to administer and the correspondence between this and measured visual acuity, it is argued to be a suitable indicator of visual impairment in older people.

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