A new study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology has concluded that 3 of the most common eye problems for anyone growing older, namely age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetes-related eye disease, are all linked to an increased risk of dementia, and even though glaucoma was not found in this study to be linked with a higher risk of dementia, other studies have linked glaucoma to a higher risk of dementia.
The risk varied for each of the conditions: 26 % higher for AMD, 11 % higher for cataracts, and a pretty large 61 % higher for diabetes-linked eye problems.
So as depressing as this may sound to anyone getting into their sixties (and surely anyone beyond that) for whom vision impairment was considered to be just another of the long list of frustrations associated with aging (everything either sinks, or sloughs, or swells, or sags), you now have to figure that this so-common sign – worse vision for any of the above-listed reasons – is also a warning about a higher risk of dementia.
So what can you do about that?
Probably not much except that common sense also tells you that attending to that cause of vision impairment – treating the cataracts, for example, and for sure, keeping diabetes in check – cannot be a bad thing to do and might even slow your risk of cognitive decline if you attend to it.
And it’s also a warning, I guess, that if you have any of those vision impairments, then you should also try to do everything else you can to slow cognitive decline, mostly, I suppose, eat a healthy diet and stay physically and socially active.