Visual impairment increases the risk of dementia, especially in young males in a 12-year longitudinal follow-up study of a national cohort

Sci Rep. 2021 May 31;11(1):11393. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-91026-4.


We investigated the effect of visual impairment (VI) on dementia development in a national cohort. In this 12-year nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study, national data were collected from National Health Insurance Cooperation of South Korea from 2002 to 2017, comprising 799,074 subjects selected from the dementia-free cohort representative of the Korean population. Crude hazard ratios (HRs) as well as age- and sex-adjusted HRs and confidence intervals (CIs) for the development of dementia were estimated using multivariable Cox regression models. VI significantly increased the risk of dementia with a HR of 2.726 (95% CI 2.251-3.300, p < 0.0001) after adjusting for age, sex, and interaction between age, sex, and VI. HR of interaction between VI and age for dementia was 0.539 (95% CI 0.436-0.667, p < 0.0001). In the sensitivity analysis after adjustment for age, sex, household income level, BMI and other comorbidities, VI showed higher risk for all the type of dementia (p < 0.0001). In subgroup analysis of VI, young males showed the highest risk for development of dementia with a HR of 2.687 (95% CI 2.219-3.254, p < 0.0001). VI significantly increased the risk of dementia in the study cohort, and young males with VI appeared to be the most susceptible to the development of dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia / complications*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vision Disorders / complications*