Working out regularly and watching our waistline is a great way to improve our chances of longevity, but when it comes to many ailments, contracting them can still feel like a tragic lottery. Fortunately, scientists in the area of early prediction know that getting a head start on a health problem is one of the greatest tools that we have as a species. When it comes to dementia, individuals often rely on there family history as a predictor of potential problems, but a new study has found clear evidence that early detection may lie the state of vision.

Researchers at England’s Loughborough University observed 8.623 healthy people, who were regularly check-in on over the course of several years. By the conclusion of the study, the team found that our eyes can be one of the earliest signs of cognitive decline. Dementia is “not a normal part of ageing,” explains the website.  “It is a group of symptoms caused by different diseases that damage the brain.”

What Are the Symptoms of Dementia?

Symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Confusion and loss of independence
  • Difficulty understanding language

At the beginning of the groundbreaking study, participants took a visual sensitivity test that included tasks such as pressing a button to track their reaction times when seeing specific cues like the formation of shapes. It turned out that those who went on to suffer with dementia later on in life had performed less well in the visual tests.

Why is Impaired Vision a Potential Sign of Contracting Dementia?

The research suggests that visual issues could be a predictor of dementia because the toxic amyloid plaques that form on the brain, associated with dementia related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, may first effect areas of the brain that are related to how we see. Other aspects of Alzheimer’s include the degrading of our ability to see the outline of objects, and this may be another reason why individuals saw the shapes at a much later stage. “So, vision tests may find deficits before memory tests do,” commented the reports authors.

While there is currently no accepted cure for Alzheimer’s, an early prediction that we may face the debilitating ailment in the future could mean that we are able to make positive lifestyle choices such as drinking less alcohol and exercising more – both of these things are thought to help immensely for living longer, happier lives. And, as with any health problem, seeking medical advice and assistance sooner rather than later is invaluable, so take a close look at your vision.