Older adults with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) are more likely to suffer an early death, according to new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology. Cataracts involve a clouding of the lens of the eye, and ARMD is a gradual deterioration of the back of the retina. The authors of the study examined the link between the two conditions in more than 3,500 patients in a long-term eye health study. Over an 11-year follow-up period, 54% of the patients with visual impairments died, compared to only 34% of those with no impairment. Researchers note that though the relationship is not yet completely understood, vision loss could contribute to a risk of earlier death by causing injuries, disability, a loss of independence and / or depression. They also noted that patients with good vision who had previously undergone surgery to remove cataracts were not at risk of early death. The report states that, “regular assessment of vision in older persons may lead to early detection, facilitating treatments that could reduce the impact of visual impairment.”
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