Cognitive speed of processing training in older adults with visual impairments

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2014 Sep;34(5):509-18. doi: 10.1111/opo.12148.


Purpose: To examine whether older adults with vision impairment differentially benefit from cognitive speed of processing training (SPT) relative to healthy older adults.

Methods: Secondary data analyses were conducted from a randomised trial on the effects of SPT among older adults. The effects of vision impairment as indicated by (1) near visual acuity, (2) contrast sensitivity, (3) self-reported cataracts and (4) self-reported other eye conditions (e.g., glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, optic neuritis, and retinopathy) among participants randomised to either SPT or a social- and computer-contact control group was assessed. The primary outcome was Useful Field of View Test (UFOV) performance.

Results: Mixed repeated-measures ancovas demonstrated that those randomized to SPT experienced greater baseline to post-test improvements in UFOV performance relative to controls (p's < 0.001), regardless of impairments in near visual acuity, contrast sensitivity or presence of cataracts. Those with other eye conditions significantly benefitted from training (p = 0.044), but to a lesser degree than those without such conditions. Covariates included age and baseline measures of balance and depressive symptoms, which were significantly correlated with baseline UFOV performance.

Conclusions: Among a community-based sample of older adults with and without visual impairment and eye disease, the SPT intervention was effective in enhancing participants' UFOV performance. The analyses presented here indicate the potential for SPT to enhance UFOV performance among a community-based sample of older adults with visual impairment and potentially for some with self-reported eye disease; further research to explore this area is warranted, particularly to determine the effects of eye diseases on SPT benefits.

Keywords: Useful Field of View Test; cognitive training; older adults; visual function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology