TUESDAY, Sept. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes-related eye disease (DRED), and cataract are associated with an increased risk for incident dementia, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Xianwen Shang, M.P.H., Ph.D., from the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues examined independent and interactive associations of ophthalmic and systemic conditions with incident dementia in an analysis including 12,364 adults aged 55 to 73 years from the U.K. Biobank cohort.

The researchers identified 2,304 documented cases of dementia during 1,263,513 person-years of follow-up. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for dementia were 1.26 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.05 to 1.52) for AMD, 1.11 (1.00 to 1.24) for cataract, 1.61 (1.30 to 2.00) for DRED, and 1.07 (0.92 to 1.25) for glaucoma at baseline. An increased risk for dementia was also seen in association with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and depression at baseline. Among the combinations of AMD and a systemic condition, the highest risk for incident dementia was seen for AMD and diabetes (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.73; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.79 to 4.17). The likelihood of developing dementia was increased 1.19- to 2.29-fold among those with cataract and a systemic condition compared with those without cataract and systemic conditions. For DRED and a systemic condition, the corresponding increase was 1.50- to 3.24-fold.

“The mechanisms for the positive association between ophthalmic conditions and dementia are largely unknown, but there are several potential pathways for this association,” the authors write.

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