Vision problems have been linked to an increased risk of future dementia development, according to a new study. (Pixabay)
Vision problems have been linked to an increased risk of future dementia development, according to a new study. (Pixabay)

Your Vision Can Predict Dementia 12 Years before Its Onset

Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death.

Vision problems have been linked to an increased risk of future dementia development and hence could be a factor in dementia screening, according to a new study. 

Researchers from Loughborough University, England have published a study in the US National Library of Medicine that proposes that our eyes can offer significant clues about the health of our brain.

The study authors found that eye health can be an important predictor of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, at least 12 years before the onset of its symptoms.

The study participants had undertaken ‘visual sensitivity testing’ where a person’s visual processing speed and reaction time are assessed.(Representational image: Unsplash)
The study participants had undertaken ‘visual sensitivity testing’ where a person’s visual processing speed and reaction time are assessed.(Representational image: Unsplash)

Presently, dementia is the seventh leading cause of death and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally. Currently, more than 55 million people have dementia worldwide. 

The condition can impair a person's ability to remember, think, and make decisions which perturbs one’s daily activities. 

The researchers conducted a study based on data from more than 8,000 healthy people in Norfolk, England. The study participants had undertaken ‘visual sensitivity testing’ where a person’s visual processing speed and reaction time are assessed.

The computerized test required the participants to hit a button as soon as they saw a triangle forming in a field of moving dots. It was found that those study participants with lower scores on the visual sensitivity test had a higher risk of developing dementia in the future.

By the end of the study, they found out that people who were likely to develop dementia were much slower to see the triangle than those who would remain without dementia.

This is explained by the formation of harmful amyloid plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease that might affect vision-related parts of the brain first. As the disease advances, areas of the brain associated with memory become damaged, leading to more obvious cognitive decline.

Early signs of memory problems may not always involve forgetfulness but could include changes in vision.

The study was published just weeks after recent research identified millions of people with mild cognitive impairment going underdiagnosed until it’s too late.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/Dr. Vineesha V/MSM)

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