Vision Impairment and Patient Activation among Medicare Beneficiaries

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Ophthalmic Epidemiology


Purpose: Low patient activation is associated with poor patient outcomes. People with vision impairment may have low patient activation as a result of communication and access barriers. We examined the association of patient activation with vision impairment. Methods: Cross-sectional study using the 2016 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. Older Medicare beneficiaries, without dementia, who completed the topical patient activation questionnaire were included. The primary exposure was self-reported vision impairment (no vision impairment, a little vision impairment, a lot of vision impairment), and the secondary exposure was dual sensory impairment (no sensory impairment, vision impairment only, hearing impairment only, dual sensory impairment). Patient activation scores were categorized as low, moderate, or high based on their distribution around the mean. Multivariable-adjusted ordinal regression models examined the association of patient activation with vision impairment, and then with dual sensory impairment. Results: In total, 6,683 participants were included. Those with a little vision impairment had 20% lower odds of higher patient activation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.71–0.90), and those with a lot of vision impairment had 26% lower odds of higher patient activation (OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.55–0.98). In the second model, having vision or hearing impairment only was associated with lower odds of higher activation than having no sensory impairment. Having dual sensory impairment was associated with even lower odds of higher activation. Conclusion: Older Medicare beneficiaries with sensory impairment may be a group to target to improve patient activation levels, which could potentially improve health outcomes and health care utilization patterns in this population.

First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID