Prevalence and factors associated with suicidal ideation among older people with visual impairments attending an eye center during the COVID-19 pandemic: A hospital-based cross-sectional study
Tantirattanakulchai, P., Hounnaklang, N., Pongsachareonnont, P.F., Khambhiphant, B., Win, N., & Tepjan, S.
Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of suicidal ideation and associated factors among older people with visual impairments attending an eye center during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients and Methods: A total of 314 older people aged 60 and above with visual impairments who attended an eye center were included in this study. This was a hospital-based cross-sectional study conducted from February to July, 2022. Data were collected in person. Suicidal ideation was measured using the Columbia–Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to explore associations between related factors and suicidal ideation. Results: Of 314 older people with visual impairments, the prevalence of suicidal ideation was 32.5%. Suicidal ideation was independently associated with diabetic retinopathy (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0–5.8; p=0.038) and depression (AOR=6.3, 95% CI: 3.5–11.2; p<0.001). Conclusion: This study found a relatively high prevalence of suicidal ideation among older people with visual impairments. There was also a significant association between depression and suicidal ideation among these individuals. Visual impairments can lead to negative émotions. This underscores the importance of addressing the mental health needs of older individuals with visual impairments, including suicide prevention efforts tailored to their needs. Ophthalmologists should be equipped with the skills necessary to identify the early signs of suicidal ideation and refer patients to mental healthcare specialists for appropriate treatment.