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How Vision Loss Affects the Brain

New studies indicate that when an older person’s brain has to work harder to see, declines in language, memory, attention and more could follow.

The human body doesn’t function in silos. It works as an integrated whole. If one part of the body has extra stress put on it, it can affect other areas. As one researcher concluded, “Vision impairment can lead to cognitive decline in older adults.”

Ways Vision Loss Affects the Brain

In multiple studies, researchers found that participants who scored poorly on initial tests of visual acuity, such as seeing the letters on an eye chart, were more likely to have cognitive decline over time, including deficits in language, memory, attention, and the ability to identify and locate objects in space.

Other vision issues, like depth perception and the ability to see contrasts, also had deleterious effects on cognitive ability.

The scientists concluded that vision loss affects the brain. They also concluded that maintaining good vision as you age may be an effective way to minimize the decline in cognitive function in older adults.

People who have vision loss change the way they live. They decrease their physical and social activity, both of which are vital to maintaining a healthy brain. Plus, poor vision can increase the risk of suffering an injury, at home or while driving. For instance, even an accident in your home caused by not having corrective lenses can result in physical trauma. The wisdom of a simple investment in an updated lens prescription vs. the potential medical costs and physical pain of a broken hip are obvious.

Identifying and correcting vision issues can help. There are other issues that glasses alone can’t fix, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. If these issues are caught early, they can be effectively treated.

Regular eye checkups can determine if you need corrective lenses and help make sure you have the right prescription.  A Vision Plan from ASBA offers great benefits and low copays for everything from exams to eyewear or contact lenses. You also get complete coverage on new lenses every 12 months, and one-stop convenience for all your vision needs at a Walmart near you. Learn more.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2781965