An estimated 65 percent of older adults over the age of 65 have some level of vision problems. It is well known that vision impairment can impede on a person’s ability to function, but how vision loss can affect a person’s cognitive and physical functions is yet to be understood.
For the study, researchers looked at 2,394 adults over the age of 77 to determine how vision problems affect cognition and physical function.
The participants were interviewed every 18 months for nine years and were asked about the frequency of their physical activity sessions, along with cognitive tasks like solving crosswords, listening to music, or playing board games. The participants were also asked to rate their level of visual impairment and about other health conditions they may have, like diabetes.
By the second round of interviews, 80 percent of the participants reported no visual impairment. After the second interview, though, visual impairment seemed to increase and the frequency of physical and cognitive activities decreased.
The researchers concluded that as visual impairment increases, cognitive and physical functions decrease. As majority of vision loss cases are preventable, seniors should undergo regular eye examinations in order to prevent severe vision loss.