• Expert Q&A: Rare dementias - Tues 3 March, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of rare dementias. It will be hosted by Nikki and Seb from Rare Dementia Support. If you have any questions about rare dementias, they will be here to answer them on Tuesday 3 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

Eyesight, vision and looking


Registered User
Mar 25, 2015
I am truly at my wits end trying to understand yet another aspect of mum's behaviour in her care home. She has gone so downhill I can't keep up with the changes. Does anyone recognise this behaviour:
Mum can read a crossword when I put her glasses on her and sometimes we can do her favourite hobby again. When she wanders around, painfully with swollen legs and new hip on her walking frame, she can't seem to see what's around her, eg when she gets to an open door she calls 'help me how do I get through here' and isn't looking at where she is going, just feeling helpless but not using her eyes to look at the open door to pass through it. Same with turning left to dinner room she doesn't look where she is just says how do I get in. Anyone else know about this?


Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
North West
Is it perhaps to do with the link between the eye and the brain? If this is not working too well the brain cannot properly interpret what the eye is seeing. When they are tired or stressed, even people without dementia can temporarily misinterpret what they are seeing, though usually only for a very short period. I've noticed this effect more as I've got older.


Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
East Kent
I'm wondering if it could be something to do with the floor.
If their was a change in the colour of the flooring say from light to dark, then my mum didn't want to cross it, it was as if their was a hole There.


Registered User
Oct 3, 2011
My wife has also been reluctant to walk forward when there has been a change in colour of the floor in front of her, as Lin has said above. I believe this is due to the brain not being able to correctly interpret what the eyes are seeing. Also, in a similar way it may be that the brain is not able to properly discriminate between the different location of objects.
In the very early days following diagnosis when I was concerned Pat could not locate or see the control markings on the washing machine, something she had been very familiar with, a consultant explained the processes the brain uses in building up a picture of what the eyes see (flat, colourless, untextured first image in right hand side of brain, then these are added by an area at the back of the brain). Apparently, deterioration seen in these areas of the brain from an MRI scan can be an early indication of Alzheimer's and similar conditions. Apologies for the technicalities but I find it sometimes helps to better understand what is happening. I hope you are able to find an answer and solution to help your mum. Perhaps a chat with her GP or maybe a check with an optician to be sure there isn't another cause.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
People think that you see with your eyes, but actually you see with your brain.
The signals come from the eyes, but the brain has to make sense of it all. The largest area that deals with sight is the back of the brain, but there are others in different places and there are several links to other parts of the brain too - like the memory (so that you can recognise what you see) and with the part of the brain the is used for movement (for eye/body co-ordination)

If any of the brain is damaged, from dementia or stroke or anything else it can affect vision and sometimes you can get truly bizarre things. The most common problems with dementia though are loss of 3D vision and loss of eye/body co-ordination. This means that they often cant work out where to put their feet and differences in colour are interpreted as steps, or holes. Conversely - gaps, holes or doorways may be seen as solid areas of different colour. Another common thing is cracks in the floor or pavement may be interpreted as a pathway to be followed.

It can be so strange.


Registered User
Mar 25, 2015
That is very interesting and quite frightening. How difficult just to get through each day. They said they were going to respond differently to her cries for help now but I don't know what they meant, are they going to ignore her? That was after an assessment. It's hard to know what's going on due to norovirus at home and shutdown to public. She missed a chair completely 2 days ago they say and fell flat on her back, she also broke her hip in there. Still she tries to walk and walk all day and night. this seems like the worst disease I have ever come across.


Registered User
Mar 25, 2015
I suppose if you lose your 3d vision then a door could look like a painting and you would indeed ask 'how to i get through?' It's all getting a bit like Alice through the looking glass.


Volunteer Host
Nov 6, 2008
Our local Co-op has changed its doormat from Black to green on the advice of a Dementia Champion who had found a gentleman unable to walk through the door!


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
Are we onto something here? I've noticed my wife stops then walks cautiously over any change in floor colouring, makes walking across some places quite difficult like a car park with bay markings and crosses where you can't park, she even stops at the edge of the rug on the laminate floor then puts a foot onto it like she's going up a step.
Could your brain stop seeing in 3D or maybe 3D becomes too much to process.
I've also noticed she won't go into a room unless the door is fully open, closed or only partly open and she stands outside it, I just did the pragmatic (man's) thing and bought a pack of door wedges and never thought really thought about it.
Perhaps this needs looking into?

Forum statistics

Latest member