While it may seem common for aging adults to experience a decline in eyesight, failing vision can put seniors at a dangerously higher mortality risk by complicating even the most basic parts of their daily routines.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Ophthalmology, research suggests that the active prevention and early treatment of conditions that cause vision impairment may reduce mortality risks for aging adults.

“Throughout an analysis of more than 2,500 test subjects, ages 65 to 84, declining vision over time was linked to an increase in the person’s risk of death during the study. Participants who experienced visual decline of one letter on an eye chart were expected to have a 16 percent increase in mortality risk during the eight-year study because their vision affected daily activities.”

The kinds of daily activities as defined by the study included more “instrumental” ones rather than necessary functions like bathing, dressing or eating. Researchers determined that failing eyesight prevented seniors from being able to perform essential tasks like using the phone, shopping and preparing their own food. An inability to perform these duties throughout the course of a given day reflects the higher mortality risk.

The results reaffirm the emphasis on providing more accurate early- detection services and better treatment methods for the visual side effects of other complications like diabetes. Additionally, these findings place extra importance on the quality of care seniors are receiving on a daily basis. Seniors can enjoy potentially longer lives by receiving the basic help they need to get through the day.

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