Dementia and risk of visual impairment in Chinese older adults

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 27;12(1):18033. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22785-x.


We had previously identified visual impairment increasing risk of incident dementia. While a bi-directional vision-cognition association has subsequently been proposed, no study has specifically examined the longitudinal association between dementia and incidence of clinically defined visual impairment. In this territory-wide community cohort study of 10,806 visually unimpaired older adults, we examined their visual acuity annually for 6 years and tested if dementia at baseline was independently associated with higher risk of incident visual impairment (LogMAR ≥ 0.50 in the better eye despite best correction, which is equivalent to moderate visual impairment according to the World Health Organization definition). By the end of Year 6, a total of 3151 (29.2%) participants developed visual impairment. However, we did not find baseline dementia associating with higher risk of incident visual impairment, after controlling for baseline visual acuity, cataract, glaucoma, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart diseases, stroke, Parkinson's disease, depression, hearing and physical impairments, physical, intellectual and social activities, diet, smoking, age, sex, educational level, and socioeconomic status. Among different covariables, baseline visual acuity appears to be more important than dementia in contributing to the development of visual impairment. Our present findings highlight the need for re-evaluating whether dementia is indeed a risk factor for visual impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision, Low*
  • Visual Acuity