Worsening vision may lead to cognitive changes in older adults: Study

New York: Worsening vision in older adults may be adversely associated with future cognitive functioning, a new study suggests.

The findings suggested that maintaining good vision through the prevention and treatment of vision disorders may be a strategy to lessen age-related cognitive changes.

For the study, published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, the researchers evaluated the longitudinal associations between visual impairment and cognitive function.

A total of 2,520 participants — aged between 65 to 84 years of which 1,458 (58 per cent) were women — were assessed over a period of eight years in four rounds — at the beginning of the study, two, six and eight years later.

Visual acuity was measured using Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study charts, and cognitive status was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

It was found that visual impairment measured at distance is associated with declining cognitive function both cross-sectionally and longitudinally over time with worsening vision having a stronger association with declining cognition than the reverse, said co-author D. Diane Zheng from the University of Miami.

It was also noted that the rate of worsening visual acuity was associated with the rate of declining MMSE score.