Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sharp Vision Sharp Mind

Poor vision and inadequate eye health care is linked to cognitive decline in elderly people.

In a recent study of 625 elderly patients conducted by the University of Michigan, those with poor vision who did not receive proper eye care were a stunning nine times more at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and five times more at risk for some form of cognitive impairment. 

In contrast, those with good vision had a 63% reduced risk of developing dementia.

Another study that reached similar results was published in the journal Optometry & Vision Science in December 2010.  In the latter study, the researchers simulated visual impairment in a group of elderly people.  They found that visual impairment can lead to a slowing of cognitive performance in older adults.  Cognitive impairment was greater in older adults that it was in their younger counterparts. 

The findings of these studies have important implications for older people who have a high prevalence of cataracts or may be prone to ignoring their health. They may be well advised to have surgery to remove their cataracts in order to prevent any possible cognitive decline and to always keep current with their spectacles prescription.

Sharp vision and a sharp mind seem to go hand-in-hand.  Protect both by scheduling a comprehensive eye health examination.  Remember, age is a risk factor for a host of diseases that can lead to vision loss. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are two of the most prevalent.  An eye exam is the only way to catch these diseases early enough to do something about them.