Study finds lower visual acuity linked to higher risk of depression

New research examining the UK Biobank Study has found an association between poorer visual acuity and depressive symptoms

SP depression
Pixabay/Sabine van Erp

A new study published in JAMA Network Open has found a link between lower visual acuity and depressive symptoms among middle-aged and older adults.

Chinese and Australian researchers examined data from 114,583 participants within the UK Biobank Study.

They found that for every one-line decrease in visual acuity, there was a 5% higher risk of depression.

The researchers shared that the findings illustrate the potential of correcting visual acuity in preventing under-recognised and pre-clinical depression.

MRI scans of 7844 participants revealed an association between depressive symptoms as identified through a Patient Health Questionnaire and altered brain neurobiology.

The authors noted that the findings highlight the value of visual health in association with mental health.

“Screening of vision at an early stage should be embedded in the middle-aged and older population to stratify the vulnerable population at risk for depression,” they shared.

Within the study, 3.2% of the adults had impaired vision while the prevalence of depression within this group was 12.4%.