Alzheimer’s disease and eye health

There is a great deal of awareness around many aspects of living with Alzheimer’s disease, but did you know that eye health and visual acuity can also be affected?

New challenges can emerge with reading and writing, coordination, recognition and identification of familiar people and things, depth of vision and discerning the difference between an object and its background, and confidence with simply being mobile.

Specific problems that can emerge in an individual with Alzheimer’s can include:

Diminishing contrast sensitivity – this makes it harder to tell the difference between an object and its background, particulary in low light

Reduced visual field – this is when peripheral vision is compromised

Accurate eye movements suffer – the ability to follow moving objects or to maintain a visual gaze can become quite difficult

Visual hallucinations – seeing objects that are not actually present

How our optometry team can help

If you are caring for someone affected by Alzheimer’s, it’s important to remember that it may be difficult for that individual to articulate the visual challenges they are experiencing. Scheduling regular eye appointments can help a great deal with this process and ensure that any issues are diagnosed and addressed.

How you can help

There are changes you can make in the home environment as well, including:

  • reducing shadows by keeping lighting even throughout the home
  • simplifying decor, including decreasing the use of busy patterns on walls or in furnishings
  • using high contrast items for daily use, such as white plates on a dark table or mat
  • highlighting any essential items (such as handrails) to make them stand out
  • moving slowly around the affected individual; this will make it easier for them to follow your movements

Please contact our Almonte office or our Gloucester office to make your appointment.

Please note that both of our clinics will be closed for Family Day on Monday, February 17th.

Information provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists.