The association between objective vision impairment and mild cognitive impairment among older adults in low- and middle-income countries

Lee Smith, Jae Il Shin, Louis Jacob, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Hans Oh, Yvonne Barnett, Shahina Pardhan, Laurie Butler, Pinar Soysal, Nicola Veronese, Ai Koyanagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The association between visual impairment and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has not been investigated to date. Thus, we assessed this association among older adults from six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (China, India, Ghana, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa) using nationally representative datasets. Methods: Cross-sectional, community-based data from the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) were analyzed. Visual acuity was measured using the tumbling ElogMAR chart, and vision impairment (at distance and near) was defined as visual acuity worse than 6/18 (0.48 logMAR) in the better-seeing eye. The definition of MCI was based on the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association criteria. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted. Results: Data on 32,715 individuals aged ≥ 50 years [mean (SD) age 62.1 (15.6) years; 51.2% females] were analyzed. Compared to those without far or near vision impairment, those with near vision impairment but not far vision impairment (OR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.16–1.52), and those with both far and near vision impairment (OR = 1.70; 95% CI = 1.27–2.29) had significantly higher odds for MCI. Only having far vision impairment was not significantly associated with MCI. Conclusions: Visual impairment is associated with increased odds for MCI among older adults in LMICs with the exception of far vision impairment only. Future longitudinal and intervention studies should examine causality and whether improvements in visual acuity, or early intervention, can reduce risk for MCI and ultimately, dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2695-2702
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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