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AUA’s Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology Publishes Article Examining Visual Impairment and Depression in Socially Vulnerable Adults

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By the AUA School of Public Health

YEREVAN, Armenia – A team of researchers at the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s School of Public Health’s (SPH) Garo Meghrigian Institute for Preventive Ophthalmology recently published an article entitled “Visual impairment and depression among socially vulnerable older adults in Armenia” in The Journal of Aging & Mental Health. The article investigates the link between visual impairment and depression among socially vulnerable older adults in Yerevan, Armenia. The link between visual impairment and depression is important because depression in older adults is widespread, but it remains a largely under-recognized and under-treated medical condition. The team consisted of Research Associate/Program Coordinator of the Meghrigian Institute of the AUA School of Public Health and AUA alumna Aida Giloyan (MPH ‘07), Assistant Professor Tsovinar Harutyunyan, MPH, PhD, and AUA SPH Associate Dean and Associate Professor Varduhi Petrosyan, MS, PhD.

The study found that having visual impairment, living in retirement homes, and having at least one non-communicable disease were independent predictors of depression among socially vulnerable older adults in Yerevan. The prevalence of visual impairment was 13.3% in the study sample, which included residents of retirement homes and single older adults living in households. Almost 3.8% of the study participants were blind. The rate of visual impairment among the residents of retirement homes was substantially higher than the rate among those who lived in households. The study concluded that timely screenings for eye problems in vulnerable population groups could facilitate early detection of visual impairment and help to prevent vision loss and associated mental health problems in Armenia and other countries with a similar background.

The article is available as “Online First” here.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

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