Dementia causes a variety of changes in those diagnosed with the disease, and vision is one key area that’s affected. These changes are issues of cognitive function, rather than caused by the eyes themselves. Knowing the different shifts that may occur in your loved one’s life will help you prepare for their home care needs.
How Dementia Affects Vision
Changes in Depth Perception
As dementia advances, the brain may use only one eye to decrease the amount of information it has to process. As a result, the ability to perceive dimension, distance, and depth changes. This may alter the way a person walks and navigates doorways and stairs. They may also try to grab objects that “aren’t there” because they can’t tell how far away they are. Caregivers can help by rearranging furniture in more user-friendly ways and improving lighting in dimly lit areas.
Vision may blur as dementia advances, even if the individual wears glasses. They may be unable to recognize faces or objects and lose the ability to read and write. Patience is necessary, as well as taking the time to identify yourself and objects for them.
Loss of Peripheral Vision
Losing the ability to perceive objects peripherally, or out of the corner of the eye, can lead to trips, falls, bumps, and bruises because the individual can’t see what is next to them. They can only see what is directly in front of them. If a home care provider is aware of the vision loss, they can mitigate confusion by standing and speaking directly in front of the person, as well as making sure rooms are clear of unnecessary objects or furniture.
Slower Reaction to Light
Dementia causes the pupils to react more slowly to light, which means your loved one may be overwhelmed by changes in brightness. Going outside into sunlight or waking up in a bright room may cause discomfort. Whenever possible, help them by allowing gradual transitions from dark to light.
While dementia presents numerous challenges in addition to vision changes, there is help available for your loved one. Visiting Angels Tom’s River offers complete home care services for New Jersey residents, including companionship and respite for family. They also have specific services for dementia and Alzheimer’s clients and help families plan total life navigation needs for their aging loved ones. Call (732) 240-1050 to start the conversation about home care, or visit their website to learn more about their offerings.