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Tip: Vision problems may lead to Alzheimer's

Elderly people who do not get their vision problems treated are at far higher risk of Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders, according to a University of Michigan study. It has been known for a while that many Alzheimer's patients also suffer from vision disorders, but this new study theorizes the eye problems "may be precursors - not consequences - of cognitive decline."

The study tracked 625 healthy elderly people over the course of eight years. Researchers found that the subjects in their study with vision problems who visited an eye doctor even once over that eight-year period had a 63 percent reduced chance of developing Alzheimer's compared to those with vision problems who never visited an eye doctor. The study was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people older 65 get an eye exam every one to two years, even if there are no symptoms.

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