Possible link between Sight Loss and Dementia, raised by RNIB and Alzheimer's Society in Scotland

People living with dementia could be suffering with undetected sight loss.

Joining forces to tackle the problem, Alzheimer Scotland and the RNIB Scotland have launched a booklet called 'Dementia and sight loss.’ The leaflet explains how to detect the first signs that something may be wrong with a person's vision

Conditions linked to dementia and vision include Alzheimer's disease, lewy body, posterior, cortical atrophy and vascular dementia.

Practice and development team manager at RNIB Scotland, Linda Mitchell said: "We estimate that thousands of people with dementia in Scotland may also experience visual impairment – either because of dementia itself, another sight condition such as cataracts, the normal ageing process or another health condition such as a stroke.

"Dementia can affect sight as it is experienced by the brain, even though the eyes are perfectly healthy.The problem is how people perceive what they see rather than how sharply they are seeing it."

The RNIB has already developed a range of techniques to help diagnose undetected sight loss in people who have had a stroke and those with learning disabilities. For instance, the charity has workers visit patients to perform pre-examination tests in their homes.

Awareness manager at Alzheimer Scotland, Kirsty Yanik added: "Some unusual behaviour may simply be a reaction to sight loss or attempts to make the most of useful vision. You may notice the person you care for becoming withdrawn or uncommunicative, confused and disorientated or being clumsy or falling more. You may also notice that, increasingly, they are holding things up close, or are startled by noises or people approaching.

"Some of these things may be due to a person's dementia. But it is important to have their vision tested as sight loss could be contributing to increased confusion."

For more information regarding sight loss and dementia please visithttp://www.optometry.co.uk/news-and-features/news/?article=4720 and for how we could help people in this situation maintain their independence please call us on  01952 581112

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