Age-related eye disease associated with cognitive impairment

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 1, 2006

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Elderly patients with vision problems related to their age are more likely to score lower on tests that measure cognition, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Researchers assessed the memory and learning skills of participants in the large multicenter Age-related Eye Disease Study. Those with vision worse than 20/40 were more likely to be determined as cognitively impaired according to the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam and the Wechsler Logical Memory Scale.

The authors theorize that this finding may indicate a common root cause for both problems. It could also mean, however, that a reduction in vision was leading to a decline in participation in activities that stimulate the brain leading to a loss in a person's ability to learn and remember.

"The lack of activity may exacerbate cognitive impairment indirectly if it predisposes a person to depression and social isolation," wrote the authors.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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