Tag Archives: vision

Hearing and Vision Loss May Speed Development of Cognitive Problems

Cognitive decline ranges in severity from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). It is marked by memory loss and difficulty thinking and making decisions. Cognitive decline is a significant, common challenge to older adults’ well-being and their ability to live independently.

Today, cognitive impairment and ADRD are major global public health and social concerns as the population of older adults rises around the world. By 2050, more than 152 million people will be affected by these conditions. That’s why many countries, including the United States, see the prevention of ADRD as a key public health priority and are studying programs to help stem these diseases.

One way to prevent cognitive impairment and ADRD is to treat the problems that raise the risk for developing them. Two of these risk factors are hearing and vision loss. Currently, about 60 percent of people aged 70 years or older are affected by hearing loss, 40 percent are affected by vision loss, and 23 percent of older adults have both vision and hearing loss. Some studies have suggested that having both hearing and vision loss may be linked to poorer cognitive function or to a faster rate of cognitive decline.

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Walking improves vision – Study

As a big fan of walking I was thrilled to learn of this further benefit to the Cinderella of the exercise world. Walking leads to an increase of peripheral visual input, according to a study from the University of Wurzburg.

How do we perceive our environment? What is the influence of sensory stimuli on the peripheral nervous system and what on the brain? Science has an interest in this question for many reasons. In the long term, insights from this research could contribute to a better understanding of diseases such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.


The topography of the EEG response (l) and its localization in the brain (r) show visual sensory processing during the walking conditions slow and normal – green and red, and standing – black. The image is credited to Barbara Händel.

Perception and the underlying neuronal activities are usually measured while subjects are sitting or lying, for example while doing magnetic resonance imaging. As a rule, the head is fixed and people are encouraged not to blink. The measurements therefore take place under well-controlled but rather unnatural conditions. Continue reading


Filed under Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Uncategorized, vision, walking

Heavy smoking can damage vision – Study

I confess that I am amazed that at this point in early 2019 there are still people capable of reading the facts and statistics on how bad smoking is, yet they continue to smoke.

Smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damage your vision, a study co-authored by a Rutgers researcher finds. This appears in the journal Psychiatry Research.

close up photography of a person holding cigarette

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 34.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system. Continue reading


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Food and health cliches revisited – Wake Forest

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – I always liked that one. While apples boast many health benefits, they do not, sadly, bulletproof us against all diseases.

“Everything our parents said was good is bad,” complains Alvy Singer, the character played by Woody Allen in “Annie Hall,” his 1977 Oscar-winning romantic comedy.


That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but when it comes to what certain foods can do to or for you, it’s probably best to take motherly advice, familiar sayings and other bits of conventional wisdom with a grain of salt.

“There’s some validity to some of them, but many of them are just old wives’ tales or myths that have trickled down over the years,” said Annette Frain, a registered dietitian at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Continue reading


Filed under brain, brain health, carrots, carrots and better vision, chocolate

Why Am I Seeing Flashes of Light in My Eye?

The somewhat frightening question in the headline was one I confronted Monday night. Driving home from work I began seeing flashes of light, something akin to lightening bolts, out of the corner of my left eye.

I was going to work out that night, but I headed for a hospital emergency room instead.

As luck would have it, there was no ophthalmologist in the emergency room and all Evanston Hospital (in my Chicago suburb) could do was call one ophthalmologist and also call my ophthalmologist and ask them for opinions on the phone. This after telling me the flashes could mean my retina was detaching, which in turn could cause me to go blind in my left eye if surgery wasn’t performed quickly to reattach it.

I wanted an answer that night about whether I needed surgery, but I could not get one. Plus I had to try to sleep that night without moving my head for fear of causing further damage to my retina.

The next morning, I was at my ophthalmologist’s office at 8 a.m. even though she was not scheduled to arrive until that afternoon. I said I would see the first available doctor and did, a bit later.

The good news is that my retina is fine, for now. What’s happening to me happens to some people as we age. In simple terms, we have a gel-like substance in our eyes that liquefies as we get older. Normally it’s a smooth process but sometimes the gel tears away from the retina rather than just melting, something like pieces of ice falling off an iceberg.

If they fall too suddenly, they can tear the retina and cause it to detach, which puts you at risk for going blind.

I now will be having my eyes looked at every four weeks or so to ensure my retina remains where it’s supposed to be. And the flashes may start in my right eye soon, too. As I understand the doctors, these never go away; they just become something I will become accustomed to and not notice as much as I do now.

If you start seeing flashes in one or both eyes, do get them examined as soon as possible, quick action could save your vision.

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