Severe vision impairment and blindness in hospitalized patients: a retrospective nationwide study

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Background: Outcomes among hospitalized patients with severe vision impairment or blindness have not been extensively explored. This study sought to determine clinical and resource utilization outcomes in patients with severe vision impairment/blindness (SVI/B). Because obesity is very common among those who are hospitalized, we also sought to understand its impact among patients with SVI/B. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using the National Inpatient Sample for the year 2017; hospitalized adults with and without SVI/B were compared. In addition, for all patients with SVI/B, we compared those with and without obesity. Multiple logistic regression and linear analysis were used to evaluate mortality, disposition, length of stay, and hospital charges; the analyses were adjusted for multiple variables including age, sex, and race. Results: 30,420,907 adults were hospitalized, of whom 37,200 had SVI/B. Patients with SVI/B were older (mean age ± SEM: 66.4 ± 0.24 vs. 57.9 ± 0.09 years, p < 0.01), less likely to be female (50 % vs. 57.7 %, p < 0.01), more frequently insured by Medicare (75.7 % vs. 49.2 %, p < 0.01), and had more comorbidities (Charlson comorbidity score ≥ 3: 53.2 % vs. 27.8 %, p < 0.01). Patients with SVI/B had a higher in-hospital mortality rate (3.9 % vs. 2.2 %; p < 0.01), and had lower odds to be discharged home after hospital discharge (adjusted Odds Ratio {aOR} =0.54, [Confidence Interval (CI) 0.51–0.58]; p < 0.01) compared to those without SVI/B. Hospital charges were not significantly different (adjusted Mean Difference {aMD} = $247 CI [-$2,474-2,929]; p = 0.85) but length of stay was longer (aMD = 0.5 days CI [0.3–0.7]; p < 0.01) for those with SVI/B. Patients with vision impariment who were also obese had higher total hospital charges compared to those without obesity (mean difference: $9,821 [CI $1,375-$18,268]; p = 0.02). Conclusions: Patients admitted to American hospitals in 2017 who had SVI/B had worse clinical outcomes and greater resources utilization than those without SVI/B. Hospital-based healthcare providers who understand that those with SVI/B may be at risk for worse outcomes may be optimally positioned to help them to receive the best possible care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number263
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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