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Psychol Rep. 1992 Dec;71(3 Pt 1):675-86.

Correlations of memory and learning with vision in aged patients before and after a cataract operation.

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Psychiatric Department, Mehiläinen Clinic, Helsinki, Finland.


The connection between memory and learning with vision was investigated by studying 100 cataract operation patients, aged 71 to 76 years, 25 of them being men and 75 women. The cataract operation restored sufficient acuity of vision for reading (minimum E-test value 0.40) to 79% of the subjects. Short-term memory was studied with series of numbers, homogenic and heterogenic inhibition, and long sentences. Learning was tested with paired-associate learning and word learning. Psychological symptoms were measured on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and personality on the Mini-Mult MMPI. Memory and learning improved significantly when vision was normalized after the cataract operation. Poor memory and learning scores correlated with monocular vision before the operation and with defects in the field of vision, due to glaucoma and exceeding 20%, postsurgery. Monocular vision and defects in the visual field caused a continuous sense of abnormalness, which impaired old people's ability to concentrate on tasks of memory and learning. Cerebrovascular disturbances, beginning dementia, and moderate psychological symptoms obstructed memory and learning on both test rounds. Depression was the most important psychological symptom contributing to poor memory and learning scores after the cataract operation. The memory and learning defects mainly reflected disturbances in memorizing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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