Findings of a new study, which involved more than 2,500 adults in the United States, have found a link between worsening vision and declining cognitive function.
Vision Loss Linked To Decline In Mental Function
In the new study, which was published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology on June 28, D. Diane Zheng, from the University of Miami, and colleagues analyzed the health data of the participants whose age ranged from 65 to 84 years old.
The researchers found an association between the rate of vision loss and declining mental function. The cognitive function nonetheless did not have a strong effect on vision.
Reason To Maintain Healthy Eyesight
Zheng said that the study is the first one to show that eyesight is a dominant factor in the link between loss of vision and mental function. However, the findings did not prove that vision loss causes mental decline.
Vision loss and mental decline commonly occur among aging Americans and the findings suggest that preventing or treating eye problems may help ward off mental decline in old age.
“Worsening vision in older adults may be adversely associated with future cognitive functioning. Maintaining good vision may be an important interventional strategy for mitigating age-related cognitive declines,” the researchers wrote in their study.
Visual Acuity And Cognitive Function
Two theories may help explain the link between visual impairment and cognitive function in old age. The first one proposes that visual impairment can limit the activities that maintain well-being, which can lessen brain stimulation.
The second theory hypothesizes that both the decline in visual acuity and cognition have a common cause such as inflammation or the degeneration of the central nervous function.