Modifiable Behaviors Affect Long-Term Visual Impairment

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Modifiable Behaviors Affect Long-Term Visual Impairment
Modifiable Behaviors Affect Long-Term Visual Impairment

(HealthDay News) — Long-term visual impairment (VI) is affected by smoking, drinking, and physical activity, according to a study published online March 3 in Ophthalmology.

Ronald Klein, MD, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues examined best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), measured by a modified Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocol, among 4,926 persons (aged 43–86 years) participating in the longitudinal Beaver Dam Eye Study. Baseline examinations were performed in 1988–1990.

The researchers found that, based on the 1,913 people with available follow-up in 2008–2010, the 20-year cumulative incidence of VI was 5.4%. Being a current or past smoker was related to a greater change in the numbers of letters lost, when adjustments were made for age, income, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) severity. The odds of incident VI were higher in those who had not consumed alcoholic beverages over the past year and those who were sedentary compared to those who drank occasionally or who were physically active. In women with early AMD and an annual household income <$10,000, the estimated 20-year cumulative incidence of VI was 5.9% in those who drank occasionally and were physically active, compared to 25.8% in women who had not consumed alcoholic beverages over the past year and were sedentary.

"Three modifiable behaviors -- smoking, drinking alcohol, and physical activity -- were associated with changes in vision," the authors write.

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