The risk of dementia in older adults may increase with vision problems, according to recent research.
Older adults with untreated vision problems may develop dementia, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 studies involving 76,373 people.
The results of the study were published in a peer-reviewed journal Aging and mental health, suggests that more research is needed to determine how to address vision problems in older adults, such as glasses or cataract surgery, to prevent cognitive issues and dementia.
“This study is one of the first to evaluate the association between vision problems and cognitive outcomes in older adults through a comprehensive review of all available English-language population-based studies. Our findings provide evidence that vision impairment is a risk factor for the development of dementia,” said lead author from Peking University Medical Informatics Center. , Associate Professor Beibei Xu. “Although the causes remain unknown, the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases can be beneficial – to improve a person’s quality of life, and to slow or stop memory loss.”
It is estimated that there are up to one million people with dementia in the UK and this number is expected to increase as the population ages. This number is predicted to increase to $6 billion by 2050, and £56 billion in 2050 will reach £30 billion.
People’s lives are affected by the condition As the disease progresses, people experience memory loss, personality and behavioral changes. They eventually become completely dependent on others to take care of them.
The researchers included 16 studies, including 76,373 participants, five cross-sectional studies and 11 longitudinal studies published through April 2020. From these studies, the authors examined the relationship between visual impairment and cognitive outcomes in older adults. They found:
- People with vision problems had a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, regardless of whether vision loss was self-reported or diagnosed using objective measures.
- The odds of cognitive impairment were 137% higher compared to the visually impaired.
- People with visual impairment at baseline had a 41% increased risk of cognitive impairment and a 44% increased risk of dementia.
“Finding ways to prevent or delay the onset of dementia may help reduce its devastating impact on the lives of affected individuals and their families, especially given the growing burden of the disease. Identifying modifiable risk factors is an important first step in developing effective interventions to achieve this goal,” says Beibei Xu. “Our new results highlight the importance of regular eye exams for older adults, which can allow early detection and treatment of vision problems. They also recommend ignoring changes in a person’s eyesight.’
The authors recommend that future research is warranted to test the effectiveness of treating vision problems in the elderly to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
Reference: By Gui-Ying Cao, Zi-Shuo Chen, Shan-Shan Yao, Kaipeng Wang, Zi-Ting Huang, He-Xuan: “The Relationship Between Visual Impairment and Cognitive Outcomes in the Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Su , Yang Luo, Carson M. De Vries, Yong-Hua Hu and Beibei Xu, 18 May 2022, Aging and mental health.
The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Peking University Medical Seed Fund.