How much does an aging adult’s visual acuity matter to their cognitive function? According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, it may matter more than we think!
Research found a strong link between loss of vision and cognitive decline in senior citizens, suggesting that preserving clear vision could go a long way toward helping seniors keep their minds sharp.
“Taking care of your vision is important in order to maintain good cognitive function,” said Diane Zheng, PhD. Zheng and colleague David J. Lee, PhD, from the University of Miami, collaborated with a team from Johns Hopkins University to analyze data from the Salisbury Eye Evaluation study, which took place between 1993 and 2003.
The study tested the visual acuity and cognitive function of over 2,500 older adults at regular intervals over the 10-year period.
When analyzing the data, the team discovered correlations between declining vision and declining cognition. More specifically, they noticed that participants with the biggest decline in visual acuity were likely to have the biggest declines in their cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention span and language capacity.
Although the researchers could not definitively prove a causal relationship between the two variables, they believe that vision has a stronger influence on cognition than vice versa.
How Can Aging Adults Protect Their Vision?
One of the best things that aging adults can do to protect their vision (and, as the study suggests, their brains) is to have annual eye exams with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. These exams are a chance to keep eyeglass prescriptions up to date and to look for signs of age-related, sight-stealing diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Catching these diseases early can reduce the amount of vision lost.
Although there is no cure for glaucoma or macular degeneration, cataracts can be removed during a routine outpatient procedure.
Research suggests that eating a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and not smoking can also help promote eye health.
Contact InVision Eye Care Today
If you or a loved one is experiencing declining vision or other troubling symptoms, you should be seen by a trusted eye doctor as soon as possible. Contact InVision Eye Care at their New Jersey office to request an appointment with a member of our team today.