Visual Impairment Tied to Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Pavankumar Kamat


November 30, 2021


  • Visual impairment (VI) was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Why this matters

  • Findings highlight the importance of vision screening in identifying individuals at risk of developing PD.

Study design

  • The study included 117,050 participants (age, 40-69 years; women 63,695 [54.4%]) using data from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).

  • VI was defined as a habitual distance visual acuity (VA) evaluated using the logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution in the better-seeing eye.

  • Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council and others.

Key results

  • During the median follow-up of 5.96 years, 222 cases of PD were reported.

  • After adjustment for potential confounders, VI was associated with a higher risk of developing PD (adjusted HR [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.27-3.56; P=.004).

  • In the Cox proportional hazard regression model, VI was linked to an increased risk of developing subsequent PD (aHR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.29-4.05; P=.005).

  • Similar results were seen in the sensitivity analyses which additionally adjusted for depression (aHR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.29-4.04; P=.005) and excluded participants with PD diagnosed in the year immediately following baseline assessment (aHR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.07-3.48; P=.030).


  • Observational design.

  • Study was solely based on baseline VA.

Zhu Z, Hu W, Liao H, Tan Z, Chen Y, Shi D, Shang X, Zhang X, Huang Y, Yu H, Wang W, He M, Yang X. Association of visual impairment with risk for future Parkinson's disease. EClinicalMedicine. 2021;42:101189. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101189. PMID: 34805812 View Full Text.



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