Does Your Loved One Have Alzheimer’s? How The Disease Can Affect Their Vision

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it's crucial that you continue to have their vision monitored. You might not realize this, but Alzheimer's disease, and other forms of dementia, can lead to changes in your loved one's vision. With careful monitoring, an optometrist can provide treatment for those vision changes. Here are four vision problems you'll need to be aware of as you care for your loved one.

Changes in Depth Perception

One of the vision problems that can affect your loved one is a change in depth perception.This change in depth perception can have devastating effects on your loved one, especially if you're not aware of the problem. With a change in depth perception, your loved one may feel that something is closer than it actually is, such as a light switch on the wall. Or, something may appear farther away, such as a ceiling fan that's above their head. Your loved one may also begin to trip over areas of the floor, or try to avoid certain areas. For instance, your loved one may believe that a dark rug on a light carpet is actually a hole that they're about to fall into. If your loved one begins to struggle with depth perception, it's time to have their vision checked.

Loss of Peripheral Vision

As your loved one progresses through the disease, you may notice that the field of their peripheral vision is shrinking. Unfortunately, that's because it is. Alzheimer's disease causes peripheral vision to decrease rapidly. Eventually, your loved one will have a field of vision no wider than the vision through a pair of binoculars. As their field of vision shrinks, they'll need to have things right in front of them before they can see them clearly.

Inability to See Low-Color Contrast

Color contrast is another vision problem that will affect your loved one as they progress through the stages of Alzheimer's disease. This means that they'll begin to have difficulty seeing light objects that are placed on light surfaces, or dark objects that are placed on dark surfaces. To help accommodate those changes, be sure to provide your loved one with plenty of high-color contrast.

Sundowning Effect

Sundowning effect can be quite bothersome to people with Alzheimer's. With sundowning, shadows that appear as the sun goes down can lead to confusion, especially inside the house. If your loved one begins to display confusion, or agitation as the sun goes down, try closing the curtains and turning on the lights. It's also important that you talk to your loved ones optometrist about the vision changes you're noticing when you schedule an eye exam.