Géraldine Zamansky, journalist for the Magazine de la Santé on France 5, talks today about a health issue that interests people affected by vision problems related to age and old age.
franceinfo: According to the results of an original Australian study, we should in fact think about testing the state of the eyes before fearing the worst for the brain?
Geraldine Zamansky: Exactly. These Australian scientists are alerting us after having passed the same tests twice on perfectly healthy volunteers. These tests are used to assess brain performance. To find out if he is indeed suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
And during one of the two rounds of tests, the volunteers had to wear weird glasses. Glasses that imitate the loss of vision caused by a disease, AMD. Age-related macular degeneration damages the area of the retina that allows us to see clearly. Its effects can be much more insidious than the classic need for glasses to see closely in the forties.
In AMD, the images sometimes become slightly blurry, especially in the center, more light is needed. It’s slow and the elderly don’t necessarily manage to identify what is happening to them in order to seek help.
And with the AMD glasses, did the volunteers pass the tests less well?
For one of the tests, it was necessary to react very quickly to the appearance of a point of light. Results: very low scores when wearing AMD glasses. Yet with a perfectly healthy brain. It’s impressive. The Australian authors of this study therefore alert the professionals concerned.
Patients’ eyes should be tested before their brains are tested. Because of the insidious symptoms of AMD, its diagnosis is sometimes late. And since the people affected also have trouble recognizing a face since the image is too blurred, “it sticks” with the failed tests, their memory is accused and they are told of a kind of pre-Alzheimer’s when it’s their vision that lets them go! A nightmare.
So it is sometimes necessary to consult an ophthalmologist before having your memory evaluated?
Of course, that still depends on the context. But what is certain is that you should regularly have your eyes checked after 50 years. Because they are also threatened by glaucoma or the most famous cataract. Diagnosis and treatment can then protect sight. And not only. A study showed that people operated on for their cataracts had a lower risk of dementia than those who remained with their degraded vision.
In short, seeing well allows you to be more active and therefore better stimulate your brain! Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find an appointment with the ophthalmologist but we understand that it is worth it!