Health

These Age-Related Eye Conditions Could Increase Dementia Risk, New Study Finds

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We all want to keep our vision sharp as we age so we can see clearly and do everyday tasks with ease. However, poor eye health could cause other hassles beyond vision loss. New research suggests that age-related eye conditions might increase the chances of getting dementia.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology looked at the link between dementia risk and eye conditions in participants 55 to 73-years-old. Researchers focused on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, diabetes-related eye disease (DRED), and glaucoma in the study. Ultimately, they found that the risks were 26 percent increased in participants with AMD, 11 percent higher for those with cataract, and 61 percent greater if they had DRED. The study’s authors couldn’t find a direct connection between glaucoma and all-cause dementia.

“Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, depression, and stroke newly identified during follow-up mediated the association between cataract and incident dementia as well as the association between DRED and incident dementia,” they wrote.

Essentially, these other health factors were found to play a part in boosting the likelihood of developing cataract and DRED, leading to dementia. Thankfully, we can make a few lifestyle tweaks to keep our vision in tip-top shape and protect brain health. 

Eating more foods rich in lycopene like pink grapefruit, guava, and tomatoes is a great place to start. This antioxidant blocks any vision damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Also, reducing your screen time and even doing eye exercises daily prevents constant exposure to blue light, which can weaken vision over time.

Most importantly, speaking with your doctor and scheduling a yearly in-person comprehensive eye exam can ensure that you avoid developing serious troubles. Taking care of your eyes first can allow you to put the rest of your health in perfect focus!

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