Glaucoma, but not cataracts, predicts lower verbal fluency performance: 3.8-year follow-up from the ELSA-Brasil study

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2021 Nov;28(6):871-883. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2020.1837723. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Glaucoma, cataracts, and cognitive decline are most common in older ages. Although cross-sectional studies showed that these disorders are associated, follow-up studies are lacking. To investigate this issue, baseline and follow-up data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) were employed. We evaluated participants ≥ 55 years-old at follow-up without diagnosis of dementia, stroke, and other eye conditions except for glaucoma and cataracts. Cognition was evaluated using delayed word recall, verbal fluency, and trail making (version B) tests. Regression models were employed to investigate associations between glaucoma and cognition, adjusted by several confounders. Out of 3,867 participants, 379 and 118 presented cataracts and glaucoma, respectively. Only glaucoma was apredictor of lower verbal fluency (B = -0.23, 95% CI -035 to -012, p< 0.001). Other associations were not significant (ps>0.57). Our results suggest that glaucoma may be related to declining cognition.

Keywords: Cohort study; cataracts; cognition; eye diseases; glaucoma; verbal fluency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cataract*
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests