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Fixing vision problems key to long life for people who are older

Seeing well is linked to independence and self-care, both important for a long life, according to research that says not seeing well can lead to earlier death in older people.
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News Modified: August 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm •  Published: August 25, 2014
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If someone wants to help an older friend or family member live a long life, encourage that senior citizen to get his or her eyes examined and take care of vision problems as they arise.

Seeing well is linked to independence and self-care, both important for a long life, according to research from Purdue University that says not seeing well can lead to earlier death in older people.

The research was published this week in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

In background material, the researchers wrote, "Our findings have multiple implications. First, these findings reinforce the need for the primary prevention of visual impairment. … Moreover, the early detection of disabling eye diseases is suboptimal in the U.S. health care system, leading to otherwise preventable visual impairment. Finally, many Americans live with visual impairment that is correctable through the proper fitting of glasses or contact lenses. A second implication of our findings suggests that when uncorrectable visual impairment is present, helping affected individuals maintain robust instrumental activities of daily living is important.”

Susan Scutti of Medical Daily explains the impacted daily activities this way: "You probably do not think very often about what it means to live as an independent adult, but it requires you to be able to shop for groceries, prepare meals, do laundry and perform light housework...."

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