Vision Impairment and Frailty Among Mexican American Older Adults: A Longitudinal Study

Mandi L. Sonnenfeld, Monique R. Pappadis, Timothy A. Reistetter, Mukaila A. Raji, Kenneth Ottenbacher, Soham Al Snih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the relationship between vision impairment (VI) and new-onset frailty among non-frail Mexican American older adults (≥70 years) at baseline and determined the differential impact of VI on each frailty criteria. Data were from an 18-year prospective cohort from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (1998/1999, N = 1072 to 2016, N = 175). Frailty was defined as ≥3 criteria: unintentional weight loss of >10 pounds, weakness, exhaustion, low physical activity, and slowness. VI was defined as difficulty in recognizing a friend at arm’s length’s away, across the room, or across the street. We found that participants with VI (near or distant) and distant VI had greater odds of frailty (near or distant VI, OR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.30–2.73 and distant VI, OR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.34–2.86, respectively) after controlling for covariates over time. Early screening (optimal management) of VI may prevent or delay onset of frailty among older Mexican Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-764
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number6
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Mexican Americans
  • frailty
  • longitudinal methods
  • older adults
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology


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