Eye problems increase the risk of dementia by as much as 60%, as new analysis shows a link between vision problems and reduced mental abilities
- Patients with deteriorating vision are more likely to have impaired memory
- Risk of dementia 26% higher in people with age-related macular degeneration
- Equivalent rate 11% for patients with cataract and 61% for eye problems in diabetes
Eye health problems significantly increase the risk of dementia, a study shows.
Patients with deteriorating vision are more likely to have an impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions, researchers said.
They analyzed data from 12,364 adults ages 55 to 73 and found that the risk of dementia was 26 percent higher in people with age-related macular degeneration.
The researchers, from the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in China, said they could find no reasons for the links
The equivalent figure was 11 percent for people with cataracts and 61 percent for people with diabetes-related eye disease.
The researchers, from the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in China, said they could not pinpoint reasons for the links.
However, eye conditions may be linked to known risk factors for dementia, such as heart disease.
The results also revealed that those who suffered from diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression – known as systemic diseases – had an increased risk of dementia.
The risk was even greater if people also had problems with their eyes — also known as an eye condition.
The researchers said: ‘Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease – but not glaucoma – are associated with an increased risk of dementia.
“Individuals with both ophthalmic and systemic conditions are at a higher risk of dementia compared to those with only ophthalmic or systemic conditions.”
The authors said their study was observational, so they can’t identify reasons why having an eye condition is linked to an increased risk of dementia.
However, eye conditions may be linked to known risk factors for dementia, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression.
The risk was even higher if people also had problems with their eyes – also called an eye condition
The deterioration in vision can also lead to less activity in certain parts of the brain, can make people less able to recognize the faces of friends and family, and can mean that they can’t be as independent.
In the UK, about half of people over 65 affect about half of people over 65, with nearly 40,000 people developing age-related macular degeneration each year.
The study was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Long-term stress raises the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems by up to 90 percent, scientists say. dr. Kosuke Inoue, of Kyoto University in Japan, said his findings suggested that testing for stress hormones could be helpful in preventing disease.