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Joanna M. Jefferis, Carol Jagger, Andrew Kingston, Joanna C. Collerton, Thomas B. Kirkwood, Michael P. Clarke; Age Related Eye Disease, Dementia And Cognitive Performance In The Newcastle 85+ Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):4219.
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A number of common age-related eye diseases have been proposed to be associated with dementia. These include cataract, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration (AMD). Associations have been proposed based on common risk factors and pathogeneses. However, few clinical or epidemiological studies have directly examined the link between dementia, cognitive performance and age-related eye disease. This study aimed to detect any association between dementia or cognitive performance and cataract, AMD or glaucoma in 85 year olds.
The Newcastle 85+ study recruited 1040 people aged 85 years old living in north east England. Participants underwent a review of family practice records (RR) and/or a multi-disciplinary health assessment (MDHA). MDHA included mini-mental state examination (MMSE). The RR included any history of cataract, previous cataract surgery, glaucoma or AMD. Data were analysed using SPSS.
Complete data from the RR were available for 1029 people; and from RR plus MDHA for 845 people. 47% (483/1029) had cataract, 36% (373/1029) previous cataract surgery, 9% (88/1029) glaucoma and 14% (142/1029) AMD. 9% (86/1029) had a diagnosis of dementia. No association was found between a diagnosis of dementia and age related eye disease. No association was found between cataract or AMD and MMSE scores (p0.08, p0.88 respectively). However, participants with glaucoma did significantly worse on MMSE than those without glaucoma (p0.01) and participants who had a history of previous cataract surgery did significantly better than those who had not (p0.05).
Despite the common risk factors and pathogenesis between AMD, cataract and dementia, this large epidemiological study looking at over one thousand 85 year olds in the North East of England failed to find an association between dementia and age related eye disease or between MMSE scores and either AMD or cataract. However, patients with a history of previous cataract surgery had a slightly higher average MMSE score. Furthermore, a significant association was found between MMSE scores and glaucoma suggesting a possible link between glaucoma and cognition.
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