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This Eye Condition Could Predict Stroke, Dementia, Say Doctors

A new study has found a link between vision and brain health.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Macro image of human eye

William Shakespeare once declared that eyes are the window to your soul. However, according to science, they may actually be a window to the health of your brain. A recent study claims that a specific ocular condition may predict future brain health complications—including stroke and dementia. Read on to learn what eye condition has been linked to future brain complications—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated. 

This Eye Disease May Indicate You Are More Likely to Have a Stroke or Dementia

According to the study, per HealthDay, older adults who suffered from retinopathy—an eye disease that can lead to vision changes, including difficulty reading or seeing objects far away— were more likely to have a stroke or suffer dementia symptoms. 

They were also more likely to die sooner than those without the ocular condition. It's important to note that the condition is often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, which can effectively damage the small blood vessels that the retina relies on. 

Researchers determined that those with the ocular condition were more than double as likely to have a history of stroke and 70 percent more likely to report memory problems. Additionally, over the next decade their chances of dying were double to triple as high as those without the vision complication. 

Dr. Michelle Lin, assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. and lead author of the study, will present the findings at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting, being held virtually March 17-19. She does point out that it isn't clear which condition arises first: the vision complications or stroke history and memory problems. "It seems like there's something about retinopathy itself," Lin said. "It's really true that the eye is the window to the brain," she said.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta

What to Do If You Fear You Have Retinopathy

If you do suffer from retinopathy, Dr. Lin suggests speaking to your doctor about controlling other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke and heart disease. And, if you suffer from cardiovascular risk factor, you should see an ophthalmologist to check their eye health. And of course, keeping protecting yourself from COVID-19 by following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.