A new study is pointing to connections between cognitive problems and eye issues relating to vascular diseases. Seniors reliant on diabetes care or living with high blood pressure may be more prone to eye syndromes such as retinopathy, a condition that was found to correlate with lower cognitive performance.
"Problems with the tiny blood vessels in the eye may be a sign that there are also problems with the blood vessels in the brain that can lead to cognitive problems," noted Mary Haan, DrPH, author of the study at the University of California San Francisco.
According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic retinopathy is a common degenerative condition involving damage to and detrimental effects on the retina. Treatments include medication injections to slow or stop the progress of the disease, laser therapy and more invasive procedures. While improving the condition can help avoid further vision loss or improve affected eyesight, the connection to cognitive problems remains.
Only 7.6 percent of the 511 study participants suffered from retinopathy, and those individuals registered lower cognitive test scores and showed significantly more vascular damage in the brain.