Vision Impairment, Participation and Subjective Wellbeing in Older Adults

Joshua Ehrlich
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Medical School
Research Assistant Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research


Blindness and vision impairment affects 1 in 11 adults over age 65 in the United States. Among older adults, vision impairment is associated with loss of independence, decreased quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality. In this study, we explore the pathways through which vision impairment influences poorer subjective wellbeing and whether this association is mediated through participation or activity limitations.


  • National Eye Institute. R01EY034479 (09/30/23 - 06/30/28). Vision Impairment in the National Health and Aging Trends Study: Epidemiology, Social Determinants of Health, and Adverse Late Life Outcomes. Role: PI
  • Shah K, Frank CR, Ehrlich JR. The association between vision impairment and social participation in community-dwelling adults: a systematic review. Eye (Lond). 2020;34(2):290-298. doi:10.1038/s41433-019-0712-8
  • Xiang X, Freedman VA, Shah K, Hu RX, Stagg BC, Ehrlich JR. Self-reported Vision Impairment and Subjective Well-being in Older Adults: A Longitudinal Mediation Analysis. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Feb 14;75(3):589-595. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz148. PMID: 31169894; PMCID: PMC7328199.
  • Xiang X, Freedman VA, Shah K, Hu R, Stagg BC, Ehrlich JR. Self-Reported Vision Impairment and Subjective Well-Being in Older Adults: A Longitudinal Mediation Analysis. Scientific paper, Gerontological Society of America, Austin, TX. 2019.
  • National Institute on Aging. U01AG032947. National Health and Aging Trends Study. Role: Co-Investigator