While the ocular complications of HIV-related immune suppression are well known, few studies have examined the prevalence and consequences of visual impairment among aging HIV survivors. Researchers recently found that visual difficulties are more common among older HIV-infected (HIV+) men and is associated with a higher risk of depression and physical function loss compared with control patients without HIV.

This retrospective cohort study evaluated 634 HIV+ men and 634 age-matched controls who were a median age of 60 years old. Participants rated their difficulty performing six vision-dependent tasks (no, a little, moderate and extreme difficulty).

Among HIV+ men, the team reported that 95% were virally suppressed. They noted that HIV+ men were more likely to report moderate or extreme difficulty on at least one task (21% for HIV+ compared with 13% for controls). They added that participants reporting extreme vision-related difficulty on at least one task had 11.2 times the odds of frailty, 2.6 times the odds of a slow gait speed and 3.2 times the odds of impaired instrumental activities of daily living compared with those who had no vision-related difficulty on any task.

Abraham AG, Ervin A, Swenor B, et al. Prevalence and consequences of perceived vision difficulty in aging adults with HIV-infection. Am J Ophthalmol. July 2, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].