How Vision Loss Can Affect the Brain - The New York Times

graceacupuncture - 03/08/2022 - NEWS - 149 Views

['

Medical

', '

practice

', '

tends

', '

to

', '

divide

', '

its

', '

clients

', '

', '

you

', '

and

', '

me

', '

', '

into

', '

specialties

', '

defined

', '

by

', '

body

', '

parts:

', '

ophthalmology,

', '

neurology,

', '

gastroenterology,

', '

psychiatry

', '

and

', '

the

', '

like.

', '

But

', '

in

', '

fact,

', '

the

', '

human

', '

body

', '

doesn’t

', '

function

', '

in

', '

silos.

', '

Rather,

', '

it

', '

works

', '

as

', '

an

', '

integrated

', '

whole,

', '

and

', '

what

', '

goes

', '

awry

', '

in

', '

one

', '

part

', '

of

', '

the

', '

body

', '

can

', '

affect

', '

several

', '

others.

', '

I’ve

', '

written

', '

about

', '

the

', '

potential

', '

harm

', '

of

', '

hearing

', '

loss

', '

to

', '

brain

', '

health,

', '

as

', '

well

', '

as

', '

to

', '

the

', '

health

', '

of

', '

our

', '

bones

', '

,

', '

hearts

', '

and

', '

emotional

', '

well-being

', '

.

', '

Untreated

', '

hearing

', '

loss

', '

can

', '

increase

', '

the

', '

risk

', '

of

', '

dementia.

', '

Even

', '

those

', '

with

', '

slightly

', '

less

', '

than

', '

perfect

', '

hearing

', '

can

', '

have

', '

measurable

', '

cognitive

', '

deficits.

', '

Now,

', '

a

', '

growing

', '

body

', '

of

', '

research

', '

is

', '

demonstrating

', '

that

', '

vision

', '

loss

', '

can

', '

affect

', '

the

', '

brain’s

', '

function,

', '

too.

', '

As

', '

with

', '

hearing,

', '

if

', '

the

', '

brain

', '

has

', '

to

', '

work

', '

extra

', '

hard

', '

to

', '

make

', '

sense

', '

of

', '

what

', '

our

', '

eyes

', '

see,

', '

it

', '

can

', '

take

', '

a

', '

toll

', '

on

', '

cognitive

', '

function.

', '

The

', '

latest

', '

study,

', '

published

', '

in

', '

JAMA

', '

Network

', '

Open

', '

in

', '

July,

', '

followed

', '

1,202

', '

men

', '

and

', '

women

', '

aged

', '

60

', '

to

', '

94

', '

for

', '

an

', '

average

', '

of

', '

nearly

', '

seven

', '

years.

', '

All

', '

were

', '

part

', '

of

', '

the

', '

Baltimore

', '

Longitudinal

', '

Study

', '

of

', '

Aging,

', '

and

', '

had

', '

vision

', '

and

', '

cognition

', '

tests

', '

every

', '

one

', '

to

', '

four

', '

years

', '

between

', '

2003

', '

and

', '

2019.

', '

The

', '

researchers

', '

found

', '

that

', '

those

', '

who

', '

scored

', '

poorly

', '

on

', '

initial

', '

tests

', '

of

', '

visual

', '

acuity

', '

', '

how

', '

well,

', '

for

', '

example,

', '

they

', '

could

', '

see

', '

the

', '

letters

', '

on

', '

an

', '

eye

', '

chart

', '

from

', '

a

', '

given

', '

distance

', '

', '

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

', '

with

', '

depth

', '

perception

', '

and

', '

the

', '

ability

', '

to

', '

see

', '

contrasts,

', '

also

', '

had

', '

deleterious

', '

effects

', '

on

', '

cognitive

', '

ability.

', '

The

', '

lead

', '

researcher,

', '

Bonnielin

', '

Swenor,

', '

an

', '

epidemiologist

', '

at

', '

the

', '

Johns

', '

Hopkins

', '

Wilmer

', '

Eye

', '

Institute,

', '

said

', '

that

', '

the

', '

new

', '

study

', '

“adds

', '

to

', '

mounting

', '

longitudinal

', '

data

', '

showing

', '

that

', '

vision

', '

impairment

', '

can

', '

lead

', '

to

', '

cognitive

', '

decline

', '

in

', '

older

', '

adults.”

', '

Correcting

', '

poor

', '

vision

', '

is

', '

good

', '

for

', '

the

', '

brain.

', '

Lest

', '

you

', '

think

', '

that

', '

the

', '

relationship

', '

is

', '

reversed

', '

', '

that

', '

cognitive

', '

decline

', '

impairs

', '

vision

', '

', '

another

', '

study

', '

that

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor

', '

participated

', '

in

', '

showed

', '

that

', '

when

', '

both

', '

functions

', '

were

', '

considered,

', '

vision

', '

impairment

', '

was

', '

two

', '

times

', '

more

', '

likely

', '

to

', '

affect

', '

cognitive

', '

decline

', '

than

', '

the

', '

other

', '

way

', '

around.

', '

This

', '

study,

', '

published

', '

in

', '

2018

', '

in

', '

JAMA

', '

Ophthalmology

', '

and

', '

led

', '

by

', '

Diane

', '

Zheng

', '

from

', '

the

', '

University

', '

of

', '

Miami

', '

Miller

', '

School

', '

of

', '

Medicine,

', '

included

', '

2,520

', '

community-dwelling

', '

adults

', '

ages

', '

65

', '

to

', '

84,

', '

whose

', '

vision

', '

and

', '

cognitive

', '

function

', '

were

', '

periodically

', '

tested.

', '

She

', '

and

', '

her

', '

co-authors

', '

concluded

', '

that

', '

maintaining

', '

good

', '

vision

', '

as

', '

one

', '

ages

', '

may

', '

be

', '

an

', '

effective

', '

way

', '

to

', '

minimize

', '

the

', '

decline

', '

in

', '

cognitive

', '

function

', '

in

', '

older

', '

adults.

', '

“When

', '

people

', '

have

', '

vision

', '

loss,

', '

they

', '

change

', '

the

', '

way

', '

they

', '

live

', '

their

', '

lives.

', '

They

', '

decrease

', '

their

', '

physical

', '

activity

', '

and

', '

they

', '

decrease

', '

their

', '

social

', '

activity,

', '

both

', '

of

', '

which

', '

are

', '

so

', '

important

', '

for

', '

maintaining

', '

a

', '

healthy

', '

brain,”

', '

Dr.

', '

How Vision Loss Can Affect the Brain - The New York Times

Swenor

', '

said.

', '

“It

', '

puts

', '

them

', '

on

', '

a

', '

fast

', '

tack

', '

to

', '

cognitive

', '

decline.”

', '

But

', '

identifying

', '

and

', '

correcting

', '

vision

', '

loss

', '

early

', '

on

', '

can

', '

help,

', '

Dr.

', '

Zheng

', '

said.

', '

She

', '

suggested

', '

regular

', '

eye

', '

checkups

', '

', '

at

', '

least

', '

once

', '

every

', '

two

', '

years,

', '

and

', '

more

', '

often

', '

if

', '

you

', '

have

', '

diabetes,

', '

glaucoma

', '

or

', '

other

', '

conditions

', '

that

', '

may

', '

damage

', '

vision.

', '

“Make

', '

sure

', '

you

', '

can

', '

see

', '

well

', '

through

', '

your

', '

glasses,”

', '

she

', '

urged.

', '

When

', '

glasses

', '

alone

', '

aren’t

', '

enough

', '

There

', '

are

', '

“vision

', '

impairments

', '

that

', '

glasses

', '

won’t

', '

fix,”

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor

', '

said,

', '

like

', '

age-related

', '

macular

', '

degeneration

', '

and

', '

glaucoma.

', '

Retinal

', '

disease

', '

began

', '

to

', '

compromise

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor’s

', '

vision

', '

in

', '

her

', '

mid-20s.

', '

Those

', '

with

', '

problems

', '

like

', '

hers

', '

can

', '

benefit

', '

from

', '

something

', '

called

', '

low

', '

vision

', '

rehabilitation

', '

,

', '

a

', '

sort

', '

of

', '

physical

', '

therapy

', '

for

', '

the

', '

eyes

', '

that

', '

helps

', '

visually

', '

impaired

', '

people

', '

adapt

', '

to

', '

common

', '

situations

', '

and

', '

help

', '

them

', '

function

', '

better

', '

in

', '

society.

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor,

', '

for

', '

instance,

', '

can

', '

see

', '

objects

', '

in

', '

a

', '

high-contrast

', '

situation,

', '

like

', '

a

', '

black

', '

cat

', '

against

', '

a

', '

white

', '

fence,

', '

but

', '

has

', '

trouble

', '

seeing

', '

the

', '

difference

', '

between

', '

similar

', '

colors.

', '

She

', '

can’t

', '

pour

', '

white

', '

milk

', '

into

', '

a

', '

white

', '

mug

', '

without

', '

spilling

', '

it,

', '

for

', '

example.

', '

Her

', '

solution:

', '

Use

', '

a

', '

dark-colored

', '

mug.

', '

Finding

', '

such

', '

accommodations

', '

is

', '

an

', '

ongoing

', '

task,

', '

but

', '

it

', '

enables

', '

her

', '

to

', '

continue

', '

to

', '

function

', '

well

', '

professionally

', '

and

', '

socially.

', '

Society,

', '

too,

', '

needs

', '

to

', '

help

', '

people

', '

with

', '

visual

', '

impairment

', '

function

', '

safely

', '

outside

', '

the

', '

home.

', '

Most

', '

things

', '

in

', '

hospitals

', '

are

', '

white,

', '

for

', '

example,

', '

which

', '

creates

', '

safety

', '

hazards

', '

for

', '

people

', '

with

', '

diminished

', '

contrast

', '

sensitivity.

', '

As

', '

a

', '

driver

', '

of

', '

50

', '

years,

', '

I’ve

', '

noticed

', '

that

', '

road

', '

barriers

', '

that

', '

used

', '

to

', '

be

', '

the

', '

same

', '

color

', '

as

', '

the

', '

road

', '

surface

', '

are

', '

now

', '

more

', '

often

', '

rendered

', '

in

', '

high

', '

contrast

', '

colors

', '

like

', '

orange

', '

or

', '

yellow,

', '

which

', '

undoubtedly

', '

reduces

', '

crashes

', '

even

', '

for

', '

people

', '

who

', '

can

', '

see

', '

perfectly.

', '

“We

', '

need

', '

to

', '

create

', '

a

', '

more

', '

inclusive

', '

society

', '

that

', '

accommodates

', '

people

', '

with

', '

vision

', '

impairment,”

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor

', '

said.

', '

Home

', '

improvements

', '

may

', '

foster

', '

brain

', '

health

', '

People

', '

who

', '

have

', '

trouble

', '

with

', '

depth

', '

perception

', '

can

', '

also

', '

incorporate

', '

helpful

', '

design

', '

features

', '

into

', '

the

', '

home.

', '

Placing

', '

colored

', '

strips

', '

on

', '

stair

', '

risers,

', '

varying

', '

textures

', '

of

', '

furniture

', '

and

', '

color-coding

', '

objects

', '

can

', '

all

', '

improve

', '

the

', '

ability

', '

to

', '

navigate

', '

safely.

', '

People

', '

who

', '

can

', '

no

', '

longer

', '

read

', '

books

', '

may

', '

also

', '

listen

', '

to

', '

audiobooks,

', '

podcasts

', '

or

', '

music

', '

instead,

', '

Dr.

', '

Swenor

', '

said.

', '

The

', '

link

', '

between

', '

visual

', '

impairment

', '

and

', '

cognitive

', '

impairment

', '

“is

', '

not

', '

a

', '

doomsday

', '

message,”

', '

she

', '

added.

', '

“There

', '

are

', '

many

', '

ways

', '

to

', '

foster

', '

brain

', '

health

', '

for

', '

people

', '

with

', '

vision

', '

loss.”

', '

Step

', '

one

', '

may

', '

be

', '

getting

', '

a

', '

Medicare

', '

extension

', '

bill

', '

through

', '

congress,

', '

which

', '

in

', '

turn

', '

might

', '

prompt

', '

private

', '

insurers

', '

to

', '

also

', '

cover

', '

vision

', '

care

', '

and

', '

rehabilitation.

', '

The

', '

Democrats’

', '

current

', '

proposal

', '

to

', '

extend

', '

Medicare

', '

benefits

', '

to

', '

cover

', '

vision

', '

care

', '

would

', '

more

', '

than

', '

pay

', '

for

', '

itself

', '

in

', '

the

', '

long

', '

run

', '

by

', '

diminishing

', '

already-covered

', '

medical

', '

costs

', '

for

', '

cognitive

', '

and

', '

physical

', '

decline.

', '

Case

', '

in

', '

point:

', '

The

', '

cost

', '

of

', '

a

', '

single

', '

hip

', '

replacement

', '

resulting

', '

from

', '

a

', '

vision-impaired

', '

fall

', '

would

', '

exceed

', '

the

', '

cost

', '

of

', '

many

', '

hundreds

', '

of

', '

eye

', '

exams

', '

and

', '

needed

', '

vision

', '

corrections.

']