(HorizonPost.com) – A new study suggests that older Americans living in warmer regions of the country are more likely to suffer from vision impairment than those living in cooler regions, Newsmax reported.
The study, which was published in the Opthalmology Times last week, found that those living in areas with an average temperature of 60 degrees or higher have an increased chance of blindness or vision impairment requiring glasses than those living in areas where the average temperature is less than 60 degrees.
However, one of the authors of the study concedes that their research only found a correlation and did not conclude that there was a causal link between warmer temperatures and vision impairment.
Co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, the director of the Institute of Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto, said the correlation between average temperatures and vision impairment would be concerning if future research finds a causal association.
The study used data from six American Community Surveys of Americans ages 65 and older in which respondents were asked if they were blind or suffered “serious difficulting seeing even when wearing glasses.”
According to the study, those living in areas with an average temperature of 50 to 54.99 degrees were 14 percent more likely to suffer severe vision impairment. Those living somewhere with an average temperature of between 55 to 59.99 degrees were 24 percent more likely of having vision impairment.
Meanwhile, those living in areas with an average temperature of 60 degrees or more were 44 percent more likely to have severe vision impairment.
According to co-author Elysia Fuller-Thomson, a University of Toronto graduate student, the correlation between vision impairment and average temperature was consistent across all demographic groups, including income. But the correlation was stronger for those ages 65 to 79 and among white people. The correlation was less strong among those over 80 and among black people.
Possible reasons for the correlation include increased exposure to ultraviolet light, infections, air pollution, and the degradation of folic acid in warmer temperatures.
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