Vision impairments reduce cognitive test performance –

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Nature Aging (2021)
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To the Editor — Cognitive tests are critical for the reliable assessment of cognitive functioning in an aging population. However, even validated psychometric tests are subject to a variety of extraneous factors (for example, culture and language) that may affect performance. Regarding aging, one factor that stands out is reduced visual function. Indeed, performance on cognitive tests has been found to be negatively affected by vision impairment (for example, age-related macular degeneration or cataracts)1,2,3. When vision impairment is neglected during assessments, poor test scores may be falsely attributed to lower cognitive ability2. This oversight can have substantial ramifications for research on cognitive functioning and the accurate diagnosis of cognitive impairment.

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Cognitive Ageing & Impairment Neurosciences Laboratory, UniSA Justice & Society, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Anne Macnamara, Scott Coussens & Tobias Loetscher
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Society & Design, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Victor R. Schinazi
Future Health Technologies, Singapore-ETH Centre, Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), Singapore, Singapore
Victor R. Schinazi
Department of Ophthalmology, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Celia Chen
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A.M., V.R.S. and T.L. conceptualized the correspondence. All authors contributed to and approved the final version the correspondence.
Correspondence to Tobias Loetscher.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Macnamara, A., Schinazi, V.R., Chen, C. et al. Vision impairments reduce cognitive test performance. Nat Aging (2021).
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