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Anxiety in Older Persons Waiting for Cataract Surgery: Investigating the Contributing Factors

  • Heather D. Hadjistavropoulos (a1), Bonnie S. Snider (a1) and Thomas Hadjistavropoulos (a1)

Abstract

Cataract surgery is one of the most frequent surgical procedures experienced by seniors. In Canada, substantial waiting lists for cataract surgery are common. This study systematically studied anxiety among older persons who were waiting for cataract surgery, and factors that may underlie anxiety in this population. Factors examined in relation to anxiety were age, sex, education, medical and ocular problems, previous cataract surgery, concern about wait, previous decisions to delay surgery, length of wait, visual functioning, visual acuity, worry about health, and coping strategies. A random sample (n = 50) of patients on a waiting list for cataract surgery took part in telephone interviews. Patients' ophthalmologists provided preoperative visual acuity. Over one-third of patients reported anxiety within the range reported for panic disorder patients and Beck Anxiety Inventory scores were well above reported norms for seniors. Increased anxiety was found among those with a general tendency to worry about their health, poorer visual functioning, and greater use of palliative coping strategies. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed. The results highlight the importance of assessing anxiety while elderly patients wait for surgery, designing interventions, and providing assistance to those patients found to have elevated levels of anxiety.

La chirurgie de la cataracte est une des chirurgies auxquelles les aîné(e)s doivent le plus souvent avoir recours. Au Canada, les listes d'attente sont souvent très chargées. La présente étude examine systématiquement le phénomène de l'anxiété chez les aîné(e)s en attente d'une chirurgie de la cataracte et les facteurs qui l'entourent, à savoir l'âge, le sexe, l'instruction, les problèmes médicaux et oculaires, une chirurgie de la cataracte précédente, l'inquiétude de l'attente, une décision antérieure concernant la remise à plus tard de la chirurgie, la durée de l'attente, le fonctionnement visuel, l'acuité visuelle, les inquiétudes au sujet de la santé et les stratégies d'adaptation. Un échantillonnage de patients tiré au hasard (n = 50) en attente d'une chirurgie de la cataracte ont pris part à une enquête téléphonique. Les opthtalmologistes avaient fourni l'acuité visuelle préopératoire des patients. Plus d'un tiers des patients ont signalé une anxiété se situant dans les limites des troubles paniques et les résultats au test d'anxiété de Beck s'élevaient bien audelà des normes habituelles chez les aîé(e)s. L'anxiété était plus importante chez ceux qui avaient une tendance à se préoccuper de leur santé, qui avaient un fonctionnement visuel plus faible et qui faisaient un plus grand usage de stratégies d'adaptation palliatives. Le texte présente les répercussions cliniques des résultats. L'analyse signale l'importance d'évaluer l'anxiété des patients en attente d'une chirurgie, de concevoir des méthodes d'intervention et de fournir de l'aide à ceux qui éprouvent un haut degré d'anxiété.

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Keywords

Anxiety in Older Persons Waiting for Cataract Surgery: Investigating the Contributing Factors

  • Heather D. Hadjistavropoulos (a1), Bonnie S. Snider (a1) and Thomas Hadjistavropoulos (a1)

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