Visual impairment in aging and cognitive decline: experience in a Memory Clinic

Marta Marquié, Miguel Castilla-Martí, Sergi Valero, Joan Martínez, Domingo Sánchez, Isabel Hernández, Maitée Rosende-Roca, Liliana Vargas, Ana Mauleón, Octavio Rodríguez-Gómez, Carla Abdelnour, Silvia Gil, Miguel A. Santos-Santos, Montserrat Alegret, Ana Espinosa, Gemma Ortega, Alba Pérez-Cordón, Ángela Sanabria, Natalia Roberto, Sonia Moreno-GrauItziar de Rojas, Rafael Simó, Andreea Ciudin, Cristina Hernández, Adelina Orellana, Gemma Monté-Rubio, Alba Benaque, Agustín Ruiz, Lluís Tárraga, Mercè Boada

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33 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, The Author(s). Visual impairment is common in people living with dementia and regular ophthalmological exams may improve their quality of life. We evaluated visual function in a cohort of elderly individuals and analyzed its association with their degree of cognitive impairment. Participants underwent neurological and neuropsychological exams, neuro-ophthalmological assessment (visual acuity, intraocular pressure, rates of past ophthalmological pathologies, use of ocular correction, treatments and surgeries) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan. We analyzed differences in ophthalmological characteristics among diagnostic groups. The final sample of 1746 study participants aged ≥ 50 comprised 229 individuals with Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD), 695 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 833 with Dementia (Alzheimer disease: n = 660; vascular dementia: n = 92, Lewy body dementia: n = 34; frontotemporal dementia: n = 19 and other: n = 28). Age, gender and education were used as covariates. Patients with Dementia, compared to those with SCD and MCI, presented worse visual acuity (p < 0.001), used less visual correction (p = 0.02 and p < 0.001, respectively) and fewer ophthalmological treatments (p = 0.004 and p < 0.001, respectively) and underwent fewer ocular surgeries (p = 0.009 and p < 0.001, respectively). OCT image quality worsened in parallel to cognitive decline (Dementia vs SCD: p = 0.008; Dementia vs MCI: p < 0.001). No group differences in past ophthalmological disorders or abnormal OCT findings were detected. Efforts should be made to ensure dementia patients undergo regular ophthalmological assessments to correct their visual function in order to improve their quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8698
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019


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