Dealing with progressive vision loss is not only functionally difficult, but also mentally straining as well, a new study shows. Researchers now suggest that depressive symptoms and poor visual function are linked—something doctors should keep in mind so they can, when necessary, direct patients to mental health resources.

The clinic-based study included 547 patients with neovascular AMD. To assess depressive symptoms, each patient completed the Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression 10-point scale (CES-D-10) and the Mental Health Index (MHI) component of the 36-item Short Form Survey.

The researchers found the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 42.04% based on the CES-D-10 and 31.78% using the MHI results. They found that poor self-rated health was associated with increased odds of depressive symptoms, as were reports of impaired activities of daily living and visual function scores in the lowest quartiles. The researchers concluded that their cohort of neovascular AMD patients exhibited high amounts of depressive symptoms.

Van Vu K, Mitchell P, Dharamdasani Detaram H, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for depressive symptoms in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration who present for anti-VEGF therapy. Acta Ophthalmologica. September 27, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].