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Visual Impairment Linked to Increased Risk for Suicide

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Review shows increased pooled odds ratios for suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicidal death

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 19, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Visual impairment is associated with an increased risk for suicide, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online April 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Chung Young Kim, M.D., from the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues examined the association between visual impairment and different aspects of suicide. The primary outcome measure was the odds ratio of suicidal behavior.

Data were reviewed from 31 population-based studies with 5,692,769 unique individuals. The researchers found that the pooled odds ratio was 2.49 for the 17 studies (5,602,285 individuals) that assessed suicidal behavior. The pooled odds ratio was 2.01 for the 21 studies (611,899 individuals) that assessed suicidal ideation. The pooled odds ratio was 1.89 for the eight studies (5,067,113 individuals) that examined the association between visual impairment and suicide death. Age group was identified as a predictive factor associated with suicidal behavior in the multiple meta-regression model, with adolescents found to be at highest risk. Moderate heterogeneity was seen for suicide death, while high heterogeneity was seen for suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation.

“This finding emphasizes the importance of eye health to overall mental well-being,” the authors write. “It is recommended that clinicians remain attentive to the elevated risk and be ready to implement suitable suicide prevention measures when required, especially when dealing with adolescents.”

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