As the eyes fade, so may the mind

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

A NEW study sheds light on how vi­sion loss is linked to men­tal de­cline in se­niors.

For the study, Univer­sity of Mi­ami re­searchers an­a­lysed health data from more than 2,500 adults, aged 65 to 84, who were fol­lowed from about 1993 to 2001.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that the rate of vi­sion loss was as­so­ci­ated with the rate of de­clin­ing men­tal (cog­ni­tive) func­tion. But men­tal func­tion did not have a strong ef­fect on vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The study is the first to show that eye­sight is the dom­i­nant fac­tor in the link be­tween vi­sion loss and men­tal func­tion, ac­cord­ing to lead au­thor D. Diane Zheng, a doc­toral can­di­date in the univer­sity’s de­part­ment of pub- lic health sciences.

How­ever, the study couldn’t prove that vi­sion loss was the cause of the men­tal de­cline.

Vi­sion loss and men­tal de­cline are com­mon in age­ing Amer­i­cans, and this study sug­gests that pre­vent­ing or treat­ing eye prob­lems may help pro­tect against men­tal de­cline.

“The take­away is that we need to pay more at­ten­tion to pre­vent­ing and treat­ing vi­sion loss to pos­si­bly re­duce the rate of cog­ni­tive de­cline,” study co-au­thor David Lee said in a univer­sity news re­lease. Lee is a pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of pub­lic health sciences.

The new re­port was pub­lished in the jour­nal JAMA Oph­thal­mol­ogy.

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