Vision impairment causes a decrease in human cognitive functions
Age-related vision loss leads to decrease in cognitive function. This was shown in a study involving 2,520 adults aged 65 to 85 living in Salisbury, Maryland.
Standardized ETDRS tests were used to assess the quality of vision (this test provides the most reliable picture of a person's visual quality and contrast sensitivity). The MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination) was used to evaluate cognitive function (mental ability and ability to function independently).
The MMSE test consists of 11 criteria that include time and space orientation assessment, word understanding and remembering, attention, arithmetic calculations, communication and visualization skills. The ability assessment was performed at intervals of 2, 6 and 8 years.
At baseline, mean visual acuity was 0.8, and mean cognitive functioning was within the normal range.
The study results showed that visual impairment of even 1 letter impaired cognitive function in almost 21% of people.
"Deterioration of vision quality in elderly people is associated with subsequent deterioration of cognitive functioning. The findings of the study recommend maintaining high quality of vision through preventive measures and timely treatment of eye diseases. This is a working strategy to preserve cognitive functions with age" says author D. Diane Zheng, MS.
This study has convincingly demonstrated that visual impairment reduces cognitive function because it impairs the ability of older people to participate in actions that stimulate the brain. Therefore, maintaining the quality of vision at a high level is very important for mental health.
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