Eye problems linked to higher death risk, study finds

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The global population is aging, and so are their eyes.

In fact, the number of people with vision impairment and blindness is expected to more than double over the next 30 years.

In a new study, researchers found that those with more severe vision impairment had a higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to those that had normal vision or mild vision impairment.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Michigan.

Globally, the leading causes of vision loss and blindness are both avoidable: cataract and the unmet need for glasses.

In the study, the team sought to better understand the association between visual disabilities and all-cause mortality.

They reviewed published results consisting of 48,000 people from 17 studies.

They found the risk of mortality was 29% higher for participants with mild vision impairment, compared to normal vision.

The risk increases to 89% among those with severe vision impairment.

Importantly, four of five cases of vision impairment can be prevented or corrected.

The findings highlight the impact of late-life vision impairment on health and well-being, including its influence on dementia, depression, and loss of independence.

The team says it is important these issues are addressed early on because losing vision affects more than just how a person sees the world.

This study provides an important opportunity to promote not only health and wellbeing, but also longevity by correcting, rehabilitating, and preventing avoidable vision loss across the globe.

One author of the study is Joshua Ehrlich, M.D., M.P.H.

The study is published in The Lancet Global Health.

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