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Eye diseases have been linked to a higher risk of dementia

Risk of dementia

Individuals who develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, or diabetes-related eye disease (DRED) may be at an increased risk of dementia, according to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology on Sept. 13, 2021.


The researchers collected health data on around 12,000 persons aged 55 to 73 and then followed them for up to 15 years, noting who had dementia or age-related eye disorders. They discovered that individuals with AMD had a 26% increased risk of dementia, those with cataracts had an 11% increased risk, and those with DRED had a 61% increased risk. Glaucoma, on the other hand, was not connected with an increased risk of dementia.

It is unclear how these eye disorders may be associated with dementia. One theory is that they may decrease activation of the brain's sensory pathways, which has been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline.


Multiple eye diseases increased people's risk as well. Individuals with two eye problems had a greater risk of developing dementia than those with only one. Additionally, individuals with at least two eye disorders and other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or depression, had a nearly threefold increased risk of developing dementia.

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