Antidepressant Use Linked To Abnormal Binocular Vision


Scientists from the University of Waterloo found that antidepressant and general health may be linked to an eye disorder.

Abnormal binocular vision, which involves the way eyes work together, affects depth perception and therefore may increase the risk of falls. As many as 27 percent of adults in their 60s have an actual binocular vision or eye movement disorder. That number rises to 38 percent for those older than 80 years old. About 20 per cent of the general population suffers from a binocular vision disorder, researchers said.

"An association does not establish that one causes the other, but rather that they co-exist," Dr. Susan Leat, leader of the study and a professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Waterloo, said in a statement. "It is possible that the effects of poor vision mean that people are more likely to take anti-depressants or make less healthy lifestyle choices."

For the study, researchers looked at randomly selected records from 500 older patients older than 60 years old who received treatment at the school's on-campus clinic.

Leat said 30 to 40 percent of the population has an exceptionally high rate of incidence for any disorder.

Researchers noted that although the study suggests that the rate of binocular vision disorders in older adults is higher than expected, many binocular vision disorders are treatable with glasses, vision therapy, or in some cases surgery.

"Keeping your glasses up-to-date through regular eye examinations to avoid large prescription changes is one way to maintain good vision, decrease risk for falls and maintain a good quality of life as you age," Leat said.

Researchers said this is the first study to quantify binocular vision loss with age and show a connection with antidepressant use and general health.

The findings were recently published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science.

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