Vision Loss and Aging

Posted on 10/09/2017

Posted by The New York Times

To the Editor:

β€œThe Cognitive Effects of Poor Vision and Hearing,” by Jane E. Brody (Personal Health column, Science Times, Sept. 26), brings needed attention to the implications of vision loss on aging.

Vision plays a critical role in everyday functioning, and vision loss, combined with hearing or cognitive loss, compounds the effect of any of those conditions individually. Dementing diseases and cerebrovascular events that affect the brain all increase in incidence with aging.

Talking with medical professionals when any change in perception or cognition is detected is essential to address preventable decline. Many of these issues are often worsened by assuming that they are part of normal aging.

Adults need to be educated about the importance of routine eye exams, while primary-care physicians need to be alert for any signs of sensory or cognitive deficit.

While some of these issues are not treatable, most are; vision loss need not be an inevitable consequence of getting older.

ALAN MORSE, NEW YORK

The writer is president and chief executive of the Lighthouse Guild.