Visual Impairment Tied to Cognitive Outcomes in Older Adults


TUESDAY, June 28, 2022 — Vision impairment is associated with increased risks for cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis recently published in Aging and Mental Health.

Gui-Ying Cao, Ph.D., from Peking University in Beijing, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies assessing the relationship between vision impairment and cognitive outcomes in older adults.

Based upon 16 included studies (76,373 participants), the researchers observed increased risks for adverse cognitive outcomes associated with vision impairment identified by subjective measures (odds ratio, 1.63) and objective measures (odds ratio, 1.59). For older adults with vision impairment, the odds of baseline cognitive impairment were greater (odds ratio, 2.37), as well as the risks for incident cognitive impairment (relative risk, 1.41) and dementia (relative risk, 1.44), compared to those without vision impairment at baseline.

“Finding ways to prevent or delay the onset of dementia could help reduce its devastating impact on the lives of affected individuals and their families, especially in light of the growing burden of the disease. Identifying modifiable risk factors is the first critical step for developing effective interventions to achieve this goal,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our new results highlight the importance of regular eye examinations for older adults — enabling any potential problems with their vision to be spotted and treated early.”

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