The effects of global warming are becoming more apparent with each passing year. However, recent research has shown that high average temperatures can have a strange effect on the eyesight of older people. A team of researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed the records of 1.7 million Americans over the age of 65 and found that people living in climates with higher average temperatures have a significantly higher risk of serious visual impairment.
The association between visual impairment and average county temperatures was particularly pronounced in white men aged 65 to 79 or younger, women over 80 and black Americans. The researchers found that residents of counties with an average temperature of 60 °F (15.5 °C) or higher had a 44% higher risk of serious visual impairment than residents of counties with an average temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) or lower.
However, researchers cannot yet provide a definitive explanation for this relationship. There are several theories, including the effects of higher levels of ultraviolet light on the eyes of people living in warmer climates and possible lower levels of folic acid, which plays an important role in eye health. Researchers also plan to further investigate the link between atmospheric temperature and the health of older people.
Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, the study’s first author, notes that the findings raise more questions than they answer. She also stresses the importance of continuing to monitor the prevalence of visual impairment in older adults, especially in the context of climate change and rising global temperatures.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Ophthalmic Epidemiology
The discovery raises important questions about the impact of global warming on human health. Are there other disabilities that are also related to climate change? What steps can be taken to protect the eyesight of the elderly in the face of rising temperatures?