Visual ability linked to cognitive skills in seniors

Visual ability linked to cognitive skills in seniors

Reduced speed of visual processing has been shown to affect cognitive ability in older adults. This new finding suggests that seniors should take appropriate steps to protect their eye function, including adding an omega-3 supplement to their diets.

Visual processing linked to IQ
As you age, you may find that it takes longer to understand new information and make decisions. New research from the University of Edinburgh showed that this perceived decline in intelligence is directly related to visual ability.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, involved 600 older adults. Each participant was quickly shown two shapes and was asked to identify each. The results showed that participants who took longer to recognize the pictures also scored lower on IQ tests.

"The results suggest that the brain's ability to make correct decisions based on brief visual impressions limits the efficiency of more complex mental functions," said Stuart Ritchie, a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh. "As this basic ability declines with age, so too does intelligence. The typical person who has better-preserved complex thinking skills in older age tends to be someone who can accumulate information quickly from a fleeting glance."

Omega-3s for eyesight
A decline in visual ability is often unavoidable with age, but there are steps you can take to keep your eyesight strong for as long as possible.

Research published in the journal Ophthalmology showed a relationship between participants' intake of omega-3s and the decline of their vision. More than 2,000 adults were surveyed about their consumption of seafood and shellfish and evaluated for age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision problems.

"Our study corroborates earlier findings that eating omega-3-rich fish and shellfish may protect against advanced AMD," said Sheila West, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study. "While participants in all groups, including controls, averaged at least one serving of fish or shellfish per week, those who had advanced AMD were significantly less likely to consume high omega-3 fish and seafood."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals can optimize eye health by wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet protection, eating enough fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding smoking. If you're not getting a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids from your diet, consider taking a daily fish oil supplement. Products like Omax3 provide ideal ratios of important polyunsaturated fats from ultra pure sources. 

Essential takeaways

  • IQ is directly related to your eyesight.
  • Omega-3 intake can prevent AMD, a common cause of visual impairment. 
  • Keep your eyes healthy with proper lifestyle and nutrition choices.