Untreated vision problems can increase your risk of dementia by 44%
According to recent research, the risk of dementia in older people may be increased by vision problems.
According to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 studies involving 76,373 people, older people with untreated vision problems may have a higher risk of developing dementia.
The results of the study, which were reported in the peer-reviewed journal Aging and Mental Health, demonstrate the need for further research to determine how treating vision problems in older adults, such as eyeglasses or cataract surgery, could prevent cognitive problems and dementia.
“This study is among the first to assess the association between sight problems and cognitive outcomes in older adults through a comprehensive review of all available population-based studies in English. Our findings add to growing evidence that visual discoloration is a risk factor for developing dementia,” said lead author Associate Professor Beibei Xu, from Peking University’s Center for Medical Informatics. “Although the reasons behind this remain unclear , this suggests that diagnosing and treating eye conditions can be beneficial – both in improving a person’s quality of life and also in potentially slowing or stopping memory loss.”
In the UK there are thought to be up to a million people with dementia, and as the population ages this number is expected to rise. This number is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2050. Dementia is also expected to cost $56 billion in 2050, up from £30 billion today.
People’s lives are seriously affected by the disease. As the disease progresses, individuals will have more memory loss as well as personality and behavior changes. They will end up totally depending on others to take care of them.
The researchers included 16 studies including 76,373 participants, with five cross-sectional studies and 11 longitudinal studies published before April 2020. From these studies, the authors examined the relationship between visual impairment and cognitive outcomes in older adults. They found that:
- People with impaired vision were at increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, whether their visual impairment was self-reported or diagnosed using objective measures.
- The likelihood of having cognitive impairment was 137% higher in people who had a sight problem than in those who did not.
- People who had a vision problem at baseline had a 41% increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and a 44% increased risk of dementia, compared to those who did not.
“Finding ways to prevent or delay the onset of dementia could help reduce its devastating impact on the lives of those affected and their families, especially in light of the growing disease burden. modifiable risk factors is the critical first step in developing effective interventions to achieve this goal,” says Beibei Xu. “Our new findings underscore the importance of regular eye exams for older people – allowing any problems vision potential. They also suggest that any self-reported change in a person’s eyesight should not be ignored.
The authors recommend that future research is now warranted to examine the effectiveness of treating vision problems in older adults to prevent cognitive impairment and dementia.
Reference: “The Association Between Visual Impairment and Cognitive Outcomes in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Gui-Ying Cao, Zi-Shuo Chen, Shan-Shan Yao, Kaipeng Wang, Zi-Ting Huang, He-Xuan Su, Yan Luo, Carson M. De Fries, Yong-Hua Hu and Beibei Xu, May 18, 2022, Aging and mental health.
The study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Peking University Medicine Seed Fund for Interdisciplinary Research.