, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 49-56

Ophthalmologic Screening in 25 Consecutive Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Admissions

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In the aging process, people are at increasing risk of visual abnormalities such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and other retinal defects. This holds true for geriatric psychiatric patients as well. These ophthalmic problems may increase risk of falls or increase the comorbidity from dementing processes and depression. Geriatric patients presenting for psychiatric treatment may also be misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed as a result of these visual problems. This quality assurance review of 25 consecutive geriatric psychiatric inpatients demonstrated discrepancies between chart documentation and actual ophthalmologic pathology present in the patients. Doing a simple but complete ophthalmologic screening as part of the general physical examination on admission to an inpatient psychiatric unit can identify those patients who will need more in depth examination of their eyes and promote more accurate differential diagnoses for the patients.

The study was conducted within the Department of Psychiatry at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center (New York, NY).