PURPOSE: To examine the cross-sectional relationship between drusen, late age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and cognitive function. METHODS; We included 2149 stroke-free participants from the population-based Tromsø Study in Norway. Retinal photographs were graded for presence of drusen and AMD. Cognitive function was assessed using the verbal memory test (short verbal memory), digit-symbol coding test (processing speed), and the tapping test (psychomotor tempo). We assessed the relationship between drusen, late AMD, and cognitive test scores, adjusted for potential confounders.
RESULTS: Late AMD was associated with decreased performance in the verbal memory test (standardized β=-0.23, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.51 to -0.01). Intermediate and large drusen were associated with decreased performance in the digit-symbol coding test (standardized β=-0.14 and -0.19, 95% CIs: -0.23 to -0.05 and -0.29 to -0.09, respectively). Participants with large drusen were more likely to have test scores in the lowest quartile of the digit-symbol coding test (odds ratio (OR)=1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.5) and the tapping test (OR=1.6, 95% CI: 1.0-2.6), but not in the verbal memory test (OR=1.0, 95% CI: 0.6-1.6).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest a relationship between drusen deposition and reduced cognitive function. Although the relationships between drusen, late AMD, and the cognitive test results varied in strength and significance across the types of cognitive test, and may partly have been caused by residual confounding, it is not unlikely that a genuine but weaker relationship exists between drusen deposition and cognitive decline.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Macular Degeneration
- Middle Aged
- Prospective Studies
- Retinal Drusen
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't