Prevalence of and factors related with abnormal fundoscopic findings among the elderly population in a rural community in South Korea

Hye Rin Choi, Tyler Hyungtaek Rim, Jung Hyun Lee, Seung Won Lee, Jongmin Baek, Kwanghyun Kim, Yoosik Youm, Hyeon Chang Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We aimed to report the results of fundus photography ophthalmic examinations among older adults in a rural community in South Korea. We used data from the Korean Social Life, Health, and Aging Project cohort study, which was designed to examine the entire population of individuals aged 60 years or older and their spouses living in a rural Village K of Ganghwa Island, South Korea. At baseline, a total of 860 people was targeted as the study population. From December 2011 to January 2019, five health examinations were conducted, including baseline and follow-up tests. During the fifth wave of the study, we performed fundus photography to assess eye health. Ophthalmic and physical examinations were conducted for 387 people who participated in the fifth wave by trained researchers. Systemic factors were evaluated via blood and diagnostic tests. After excluding eight people who did not undergo follow-up fundoscopy, a total of 379 participants was included for analysis. We classified the participants into two groups with either no (zero) or one or more suspicious ophthalmic diseases. The abnormalities included media opacity, suspected glaucoma, and suspicion of retinal disease as diagnosed by a trained specialist. We further categorized ophthalmic conditions as clinically insignificant, follow-up needed, semi-urgent, and urgent conditions. We included 379 participants, of which 225 (59.4%) were women. The mean age of the participants was 76.4 ± 6.2 years. Among all participants, 81% (n=307) had one or more abnormalities on fundus screening. Older age, living alone, high blood pressure, and high fasting insulin were associated with an increased risk of having ≥ one eye disease. In terms of triage, 3.7% (n= 14) of the observed conditions were urgent, and 25.9% (n= 98) were semi-urgent. Therefore, we documented fundoscopy results among the elderly population in a rural community in South Korea. Elderly people living alone were more likely to have eye disease. Policies to improve eye health are needed to prevent vision loss in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A3A2067165).

Publisher Copyright:
©, © Taylor & Francis.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology


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