Understanding how Dementia can affect your eyesight | Dementia Action Week


Is there a link between Dementia and eyesight?

With over 250,000 people in the UK suffering from sight loss with a dementia diagnosis, this Dementia Action Week, Opticall Eyecare explore the link between dementia and sight loss and tell you how you can get involved to support the Alzheimer’s Society this May 2023. 

Dementia causes changes in the brain, and this can include how we see and how our brain processes the information our eyes bring in. Changes in vision can be a source of strange behaviour for those with dementia, leading to troubling situations for both them and their family members. When seniors with Alzheimer’s disease behave out of the ordinary, it is hard to understand why, especially when hallucinations are a common symptom. However, these changes in behaviour can be particularly linked to changes in their vision.

When seniors with dementia suffer from changes in vision, it affects how the brain processes visual information, leading to an array of symptoms that caregivers and loved ones may think are delusions or psychosis. For example, someone experiencing blurred objects may fail to recognise familiar people or items due to this blurring effect. Similarly, those who have trouble using peripheral vision may have difficulty navigating rooms or ramps. To make things worse, any associated anxiety due to their inability to navigate can further exacerbate their confusion and unpleasant behaviour.

Looking after your eyesight after a Dementia diagnosis

It is vital to look after your sight, as changes in vision can affect your daily life. Regular eye tests are necessary to detect any issues early. An optometrist can assess your eyes’ health and ensure you have the appropriate glasses. Many providers even go out of their way by coming to your home or making arrangements for convenient appointments.

For carers of those with this diagnosis, it is especially important that regular tests be undertaken as they may not be able to tell you about changes in their sight themselves. Don’t wait for a problem; it’s best to keep on top of your eye care right from the start. The optician can advise both parties on taking care of this vital aspect of personal health.

Pay a visit to your optician if you notice the following: 

  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty in recognising people 
  • Being unable to cope with bright or low lighting. 
  • Being unable to find things. 

If you are caring for someone with a diagnosis, there are things you can do to help and support eyesight: 

  1. Making adaptations to the home to assist with finding things and retaining independence for as long as possible. 
  2. Dementia can cause the pupils to adjust to light more slowly – consider using smaller lamps and lower lighting that is built gradually over time to prevent dazzle and shadows. 
  3. Use contrasting colours to make objects more visible and easier to differentiate between. 

How can you get involved in Dementia Awareness Week?

May 15-21, 2023, will mark the 10th annual Dementia Action Week. This awareness week is a national event that aspires to improve the lives of people affected by dementia through collective action and support. During this year’s Dementia Action Week, there is an especially strong call for solidarity from those with loved ones dealing with dementia. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become crystal clear that society must do more for families who are struggling and facing difficulty caring for their loved ones with dementia.

Sadly, due to the virus, there has already been a quarter of coronavirus deaths attributed to those living with dementia in the UK alone – a sad reminder of how much more consideration and awareness is needed around dementia care. That’s why it’s more important than ever to come together during this year’s Action Week and work together towards progress in this area. We can raise awareness and stand up for our friends and family members facing challenges associated with dementia diagnosis today.

This Action Week, the Alzheimer’s Society is continuing to raise awareness about the increase in dementia diagnoses across the country. In 2022, their support line saw a 43% increase in calls looking for support and advice about the disease. Get involved by downloading their resources pack and spreading awareness of the disease this May! 

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Book an appointment with Opticall Eyecare Ltd

If you or someone you care for has just had a diagnosis of dementia, book them an opticians appointment with your local home-visiting optical team Opticall Eyecare. Our team of qualified optometrists have exemplary training and vast experience working with dementia clients and understand the importance of quick, calm, and efficient appointments. 

For more information, to find out if you qualify for a free NHS eye test or to book an appointment, get in touch with our helpful team today and pay attention to your eyesight this Dementia Action Week 2023.  

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