Ophthalmologic health status of an aging population—data from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II)

  • Richard BergholzEmail author
  • Ralf Michael Dutescu
  • Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen
  • Adrian Rosada
Medical Ophthalmology



Vision of the elderly may be affected by typical age-related diseases like cataract and macular degeneration. Little is known about the effect of aging on visual difficulties and vision-related quality of life. This study was conducted to compare the ophthalmological health status of younger and older individuals within a large cohort study of residents of a greater metropolitan area (Berlin Aging Study II [BASE-II]).


A total of 1655 participants (805 men) aged 60 years and older and 494 participants (232 men) aged between 22 and 48 years from the Berlin Aging Study II were included in the analysis. The subjects were examined during a 2-day clinical examination period. History of ocular diseases, vision-related quality of life using the visual function questionnaire (VFQ- 25), refraction, distance and near visual acuity, tonometry, and color vision were provided.


Older subjects performed significantly worse concerning distance and near visual acuity, color vision, and vision-related quality of life compared to young subjects. Intraocular pressure showed no significant difference between groups. Individuals are often unaware of existing eye diseases.


The prevalence of ocular diseases and the impairment of vision increases with age. Although 98% of elderly subjects have reported to suffer from any ocular disease, subjective quality of life seems to be affected to a lesser extent.


BASE-II Vision-related quality of life Cross-sectional Age-related ophthalmological health 



The BASE-II research project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIHD), Berlin.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Richard Bergholz has received a travel grant by Allergan.

Ralf Michael Dutescu has received speaker’s honoraria for presentations by Ursapharm und Horus Pharma.

Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen has received honoraria for presentations, advisory board activities, or data monitoring committee activities by Abbott, Aegerion, Amgen, Astra-Zeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Fresenius, Genzyme, Kaneka, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Roche.

Adrian Rosada has received speakers’ honoraria for presentations and advisory board activities by Fresenius and B. Braun.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

All participants gave written informed consent and the Ethics Committee of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin approved the study (approval number EA2/029/09).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Campus Virchow-KlinikumCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.ACTO e.V., An-InstituteRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic DiseasesCharité - Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of GeriatricsCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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