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Varshini Varadaraj, Beatriz E Munoz, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Bonnielin K Swenor; Vision impairment and participation in cognitively stimulating activities. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):3347.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been associated with decreased rates of cognitive decline in older adults. However, most cognitively stimulating tasks, such as reading or a crossword puzzle require good vision, potentially affecting the ability of visually impaired adults to engage in these activities. Therefore, we examined the relationship between vision and participation in cognitively stimulating activities among older adults.
Analyses included data from the Cognitive Vitality Sub-Study of the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. Visual function, assessed at Year 3 (baseline for this analyses), was coded as visual acuity (VA; ≥20/40), contrast sensitivity (CS; <1.55 logContrast), and stereo acuity (SA; >85 arcsec) impairments. Participation in cognitively stimulating activities was determined based on responses to 12 questions (administered at Years 3, 5, 7, and 9) assessing frequency of participation ranging from none to daily. Cross-sectional and longitudinal models, adjusted for age, race, sex, education, diabetes, smoking, and study site, were used to assess the association between vision and participation in the total number of activities engaged in at least monthly.
Analyses included 924 participants aged 75.2 ±2.8 years. At baseline, impaired CS (27%), and SA (29%) was associated with participation in fewer cognitive activities (β=-0.33, 95%CI=-0.63, -0.03; β=-0.32, 95%CI=-0.61, -0.03, respectively) while VA ( 8%) was not (β=-0.34, 95%CI=-0.81, 0.13). In longitudinal models examining annual rate of change in number of monthly activities by impairment status, groups with and without VA, CS, and SA impairments had declines in activity over time. Rates of decline were relatively higher in the VA (β=-0.16, 95%CI=-0.26, -0.05) and CS (β=-0.14, 95%CI=-0.19, -0.09) impaired groups as compared to the respective unimpaired groups (No VA: β=-0.12, 95%CI=-0.15, -0.10; No CS: β=-0.12, 95%CI=-0.15, -0.09), though these group differences were not statistically significant. SA (β=-0.13, 95%CI=-0.17, -0.09) and no SA (β=-0.13, 95%CI=-0.16, -0.10) groups had similar rates of decline.
Our results indicate that older adults with VI participate in fewer cognitive activities. These findings support the need to identify develop alternative cognitively stimulating activities for visually impaired older adults.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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