Your eyes could predict how long you live – study

Phillip Schofield gets agitated as eyesight deteriorates in July

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Maintaining healthy eyes throughout our lives is vital when it comes to preventing vision loss as best we can as we age. However, many eye conditions are unavoidable. And studies have shown this could have an impact on your lifespan.

One study, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology in 2004, found that older people with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could die earlier than those without eye disorders.

It ruled that those with evidence of these eye conditions were more likely to die of any cause compared to those with healthy eyes.

And people with AMD were more likely to die of heart disease.

However, the team noted that these eye conditions could be reflective of other underlying health problems.

Researchers studied a group of 4,757 people, aged between 55 and 81, taking part in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

In the follow-up period of six and a half years, 534 of the participants died.

People with AMD, therefore, had a 41 percent higher risk of death during the study, compared to others who displayed little or no symptoms of opaque deposits under the retina.

Those with more severe cases of AMD were linked with cardiovascular deaths.

And participants with impaired vision in one eye and those who had cataract surgery had an increased risk of death – of 36 percent and 55 percent, in that order.

The study says: “In fully adjusted models, participants with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared with participants with few if any, drusen (yellow deposits under the retina) had increased mortality.

“Advanced AMD was associated with cardiovascular deaths.

“Compared with participants having good acuity in both eyes, those with visual acuity worse than 20/40 in one eye had increased mortality.

“Nuclear opacity and cataract surgery were associated with increased all-cause mortality and with cancer deaths.”

Separate research, published in 2015, found there was a greater risk of death among people with other eye problems.

The study, found in Scientific Reports Journal, included 3,280 participants aged between 40 and 80.

“In conclusion, persons with visual impairment were more likely to die than persons without visual impairment,” it says.

“The presence of diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion were, in particular, markers of increased mortality and cardiovascular disease risk.”

According to the NHS, age-related macular degeneration is a “common” condition that affects the middle part of your vision.

Symptoms include:

  • A blurred or distorted area in your vision
  • Struggling to see anything in the middle of your vision
  • Reading, watching TV, driving or recognising faces becomes difficult
  • Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
  • Objects looking smaller than normal
  • Colours seeming less bright than they used to
  • Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).

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