Is visual function associated with cognitive activity engagement in middle-aged and elderly individuals?

Authors Sigrid Mueller-Schotte, Yvonne van der Schouw, Nienke Bleijenberg, Marieke Schuurmans
Published in Experimental Gerontology
Publication date 2016
Type Article


Objective:This study investigated whether visual function is associated with cognitive activity engagement and mild cognitive impairment in middle-aged and elderly individuals. Method:This cross-sectional study was conducted on 120 individuals aged 50–89. The Florida Cognitive Activity Scale (FCAS) was used to assess cognitive activity engagement. Visual function was assessed by near visual acuity(nVA) and contrast sensitivity (CS), and both combined to obtain a visual function (VF) compound score. Multi-variable linear regression models, adjusted for confounders, were used to assess the association between the determinants and FCAS. Results:After confounder adjustment, nVA was not associated with overall cognitive activity engagement. CS was significantly associated with the FCAS“Higher Cognitive Abilities”subscale score (BHC= 5.5 [95% CI 1.3; 9.7]).Adjustment for nVA attenuated the association between CS and engagement in tasks of Higher Cognitive Abilities(BHC= 4.7 [95% CI 0.1; 9.3]).In retired individuals(N= 87), theVF compound score was associated with a lower Cognitive Activity Scale score(BCA=−1.2 [95% CI−2.3;−0.1]), lower Higher Cognitive Abilities score(BHC=−0.7 [95% CI−1.3;−0.1])and lower Frequent Cognitive Abilities score (BFA=−0.5 [95% CI−0.9;−0.1]). Conclusion:CS, but not nVA, plays a role in engagement in tasks associated with Higher Cognitive Abilities in middle-aged and elderly individuals. In retired individuals, the VF compound score is associated with lower Cognitive Activity score, lower Higher Cognitive Abilities score and lower Frequent Cognitive Abilities score.

On this publication contributed

  • Nienke Bleijenberg PhD | Professor | Research group Chronic Diseases
    Nienke Bleijenberg
    • Professor
    • Research group: Proactive care for older people living at home

Language English
Published in Experimental Gerontology
Key words cognition, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, community living
Page range 104-111