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Untreated vision may contribute to dementia

May 03, 2010

New research suggests that poor vision and untreated vision may be a contributing factor in dementia.

Researchers at the University of  Michigan used data from the Health and Retirement Study and Medicare files to follow the experiences of 625 elderly participants over a period of  eight-and-a-half-year  years with normal cognition at baseline.     

Participants with very good or excellent vision at baseline had a 63% reduced risk of dementia  during the followup period. Poor vision was associated with development of dementia.

Participants with poorer vision who did not visit an ophthalmologist had a 9.5-fold increased risk of Alzheimer disease  and a 5-fold increased risk of cognitively impaired.   

For Americans aged 90 years or older, 78% who maintained normal cognition had at least one previous eye procedure compared with 52% of those with Alzheimer disease. Untreated poor vision was associated with cognitive decline, particularly Alzheimer disease.

Soruce: American Journal of Epidemiology 2010 171(6):728-735

Sayed Jovkar, M.D.

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