Glaucoma, Cognitive Decline, and Healthy Aging
This study represents a relatively important step toward understanding the cognitive factors that impact the measurement of visual function among patients with glaucoma.
The study corroborates the importance of detecting both glaucomatous VF loss and cognitive impairment. Indeed, because of ongoing and frequent contact with patients with glaucoma, vision care clinicians may be positioned to detect not only ocular disease, but also conditions such as cognitive impairment that can impact our patients’ well-being and our ability to optimally care for their vision. With the population of the United States aging at a rapid pace, the incidence and cost of caring for glaucoma and comorbid systemic and neuropsychiatric conditions is also likely to increase considerably. This study suggests that to effectively monitor glaucoma, it may also be important to screen for neuropsychiatric decline and refer identified patients for appropriate care. Increased rates of falls, depression, motor vehicle crashes, and use of hospital services have all been associated with glaucoma and justify considerable investment in its detection and treatment.
In summary, this study is part of a growing body of literature that points to the opportunity for vision care clinicians to improve health outcomes and better understand factors that impact the healthy aging of our patients.