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How Eye Exams Make Your Brain Better

Here's a surprising reason not to settle for subpar vision: Eye exams are good for your brain.

Close up of a woman's eye with test vision chart.

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Here's a surprising reason not to settle for subpar vision: Eye exams are good for your brain.

Yep, getting your eyes examined regularly and correcting vision problems could help to significantly reduce your odds of memory-stealing dementia down the road.

An Eye for Trouble?
Compared with people who felt their vision was poor, people who rated their own vision as being very good or better were 63 percent less likely to develop dementia over a 9-year study period. And although the participants showed no signs of dementia or cognitive decline at the start of the study, the researchers found those with worse vision who hadn't bothered going to an eye doctor were 9.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. On the other hand, the risk of cognitive decline was not significantly higher in people whose vision was initially not so great but who had problems professionally corrected. (Find out how often you should see an eye doctor.)

Visual Health Cues
It's not totally clear how the health of our eyes may be connected to brain function. But other studies have found similar links between declines in eyesight and waning cognitive ability. It may be that difficulty seeing makes it harder to keep up the good lifestyle habits known to curb dementia risk, like exercising regularly and doing mentally stimulating activities.

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