गर्म मौसम और खराब दृष्टि : वृद्ध लोगों को परेशान करती है... Hot Weather and Poor Vision : Older People Suffer Most

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


The link between warmer climates and vision loss was strongest for those between 65 and 79 years of age

Most of the impacts of global warming are fairly obvious So far we never realised a strange one: very recently researchers have found that older adults living in climates with higher average temperatures suffer a significantly increased rate of serious vision problems. These conclusions were drawn from a study done in Canada. No data are available from India. It is good to learn from others experience and take possible steps to minimise the effects. 

People in counties with an average temperature above 55 degrees had a 24% higher risk, and people in counties with an average temperature above 50 had a 14% higher risk, the study said. The link between higher local temperatures and vision problems was highest for people ages 65 to 79, compared to people 80 and over, males compared to females, and White Americans compared to Black Americans.

University of Toronto researchers examined American Community Survey findings from 2012 to 2017 in which 1.7 million older adults were asked many questions, including, "Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?"  

Each year, the effects of global warming become more obvious. We've already seen predictions that we'll break global temperature highs in the next five years; information that says Europe is heating twice as fast as the rest of the planet and the Arctic Circle four times as fast. But now researchers say that higher temperatures might have another, stranger, impact – it could be linked to vision loss in older adults.

The link was strongest for white men aged 65 to 79 and lower for females, those over the age of 80, and black Americans. The vision impairments were self-reported in response to the question: "Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?".

"This link between vision impairment and average county temperature is very worrying if future research determines that the association is causal,". "With climate change, we are expecting a rise in global temperatures. It will be important to monitor if the prevalence of vision impairment among older adults increases in the future."

 The study didn't conclude what caused the connection, and researchers called for more study. But some of the possibilities include increased exposure to ultraviolet light, , which can damage the eyes, or that they might have lower levels of folic acid, which degrades as temperatures increase. Folic acid is a key vitamin for healthy eye tissue, and supplementation (along with vitamin B) has been shown to help combat macular degeneration, so its loss could harm vision. Due to Air pollution, higher rate of infections is also a possibility.  

But this novel finding introduces more questions than it answers, including what the connection between average county temperature and vision impairment is. (The author has his own study and views)