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Untreated poor vision in elderly linked to dementia

Posted on May 17, 2011 by Sarah There have been 1 comment(s)

Untreated poor vision in elderly linked to dementia, a  University  of Michagan study shows
Early treatment of visual problems may delay development of dementia, but many elderly lack adequate vision coverage.
Elderly people with visual disorders that are left untreated are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease -- the most common form of dementia, according to a University of Michigan Health System study.
The study used Medicare data and shows that those with poor vision who visited an ophthalmologist at least once for an examination were 64 percent less likely to develop dementia.
“Visual problems can have serious consequences and are very common among the elderly, but many of them are not seeking treatment,” says lead author Mary A.M. Rogers, Ph.D, research assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and research director of the Patient Safety Enhancement Programat the U-M Health System and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center.

”Our results indicate that it is important for elderly individuals with visual problems to seek medical attention so that the causes of the problems can be identified and treated,” Rogers says.

The types of vision treatment that were helpful in lowering the risk of dementia were surgery to correct cataracts and treatments for glaucoma, retinal disorders and other eye-related problems.

Proper vision is a requirement for many of the activities that previously have been found to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These include reading, playing board games, other mentally stimulating activities, social networking, as well as physical activity such as walking and routine exercising. A visual disorder may interfere with normal mobility and may also hinder a person’s ability to participate in such activities.

However, vision problems and blindness are among the top 10 disabilities among adults and can result in a greater tendency to experience other health conditions or even to die prematurely.

“While heart disease and cancer death rates are continuing to decline, mortality rates for Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise,” says Rogers. “So if we can delay the onset of dementia, we can save individuals and their families from the stress, cost and burden that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

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1 Response to Untreated poor vision in elderly linked to dementia

  • Interesting relationship between poor vision and dementia, I'm not a scientist but, it seems that how well the elderly see has a direct correlation to memory...interesting indeed!

    Posted on September 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm