MedPage Today (February 23, 2010): Old-Age Vision Problems Linked to Dementia

Publication Date: 
Tue, 02/23/2010

Untreated vision problems in older age are associated with an increased risk of decline in cognitive function and Alzheimer's disease, data from a cohort study showed.

Uncorrected poor vistion was associated with a five- to ten-fold greater risk of Alzheimer's disease and a five-fold greater risk of cognitive decline without dementia, compared wth older people who had very good or excellent vision.

Three-fourths of 90-year-olds with normal cognitiion had a history of at least one eye procedure compared with half of those with Alzheimer's disease, according to an article published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"There was an association between poor vision and the later development of dementia," Mary A. M. Rogers, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in an interview. "Beyond that, failure to treat the poor vision was even more consequential. The bottom line is that older individuals with an eye problem should seek medical attention for that eye problem."

Eye pathology and dementia have considerable overlap in the medical literature. Vision disturbances have been described as among the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease...