Poor Vision

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
Mum had a routine eye test at her NH and she has poor vision, due to a cataract in her left eye and age related macular degeneration. She needs glasses for distance and glasses for reading. When she had her right eye treated for a cataract, it seemed to require a lot of concentration on her part and there was a lot of measurement and looking through machines. I asked Matron if it was possible for Mum to be treated, and she said it can be done, the GP could be asked to refer her to the hospital.
I don't want to put Mum through a medical ordeal unless it is going to make her quality of life better, but I don't want to deny her treatment either. Also, would she cope with having two pairs of glasses? She has only ever needed reading glasses, not distance glasses before. She isn't using her reading glasses and I don't think she is able to concentrate even on a magazine. As she's been unsettled, I've just left an older pair of glasses at the home, so I could check to see if her most recent pair are closer to the new prescription.
It was a relief that she hadn't lost any vision due to glaucoma or hemianopia. Has anyone had experience of cataract treatment for a person with vascular dementia?
Kayla
 

Kathleen

Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
639
66
West Sussex
Hello Kayla

I can't help much, but here goes.

I have not had experience of cataract treatment with Mum, but she did have an overnight hospital stay last year with dreadful constipation and it was so traumatic for her, we would not put her through it again.

She was completely lost and frightened, the nurse who helped her was upset that she had to put her through a lot of trauma to give an enema, she didn't understand what was happening and why. No amount of reassurance helped either.

Mum has always worn glasses for reading, but stopped using them since losing 2 pairs in a month in the home, she now looks at papers and magazines without squinting and seems happy not to have them.........Mind you, this is the same lady who has also lost a set of teeth and happily "gums" a biscuit without seeming to realise anything is amiss!!

Bless her heart, she is so sweet.

Kathleen
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
Dear Kathleen,
I would dread Mum having to go into hospital overnight as she was so traumatised when she broke her hip. A cataract operation can be done as a day patient,but the physiotherapist from the hospital said Mum was unable to listen to instructions, so I think there'd be problems at the eye clinic. I'll have to ring the opticians to find out how bad the cataract is and whether it needs treatment at the moment. The poor vision could be due more to the macular degeneration, which is untreatable.
Kayla
 

Kath TN

Registered User
May 5, 2006
32
Hi Kayla

My dad had a cataract job done last summer - he coped really well with the actual procedure but developed an infection following it. The infection was really easily cleared up with eyedrops administered three times a day and so physically he was fine within three weeks - only problem was mentally coping with it - dad thought that his psychiactric consultant had paid the opthalmologist to do a bad job to get his own back on dad! But he thinks his psychiactric consultant is to blame for everything - including the current heatwave!:)

Dad was only at the hospital for half a day - local anaesthetic - no problem - it really was a straight forward procedure.

Hope this helps.

Kath
 

Kath TN

Registered User
May 5, 2006
32
Sorry Kayla - meant to say on the last reply - Dad's eyesight is tons better - well worth him having it done!
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
Thankyou Kath,
Mum has had her right eye treated, before she became ill and everything was fine, but I wondered if she'd be able to concentrate properly. I'll look into things and see what the GP recommends.
Kayla
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
I spoke to the Optician on the phone and she said that the cataract is only slight, it is the macular degeneration, due to age, which is causing the problems. I've ordered the two pairs of glasses, so that Mum can see the TV better and at least look at pictures or try and play Scrabble more easily.
She never needed glasses for distance before so her eyesight has become much worse. I've also asked if I can replace her small portable TV with her larger one and bring the video recorder in too. I think she might enjoy some of her own videos, if someone could just put them on for her.
It has made such a big difference now Mum has a friend to sit with her. She is almost back to her old self and is trying to make little jokes. They can watch films together and talk about them.
Kayla
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
My Mother had her cataracts operated on 2 years ago .........continued to drive all the way through despite being told she must notify the DVLA

Her vision picks up the tiniest speck now

however with macular degenration i expect a catarat op will not help much

how about Varifocal glasses though that would save having 2 pairs

mind you concentrating on things seems to be something dementia patients often cannot do
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Varifocal glasses
This would seem such a great idea and I have used these for years.

I arranged for Jan to have some before her sight went entirely. It was absolutely no use as the glasses actually demand a lot of coordination from the brain, eyes, head and body, to adjust all these to the patch of glass that is correct for the occasion. They can be quite difficult to adjust to in any case, but of course it is these things that are most compromised with dementia.

I had the optician swap back to ordinary lenses.

Great idea, Helena, but as with so many things, dementia may get in the way.

What I would say though, is it might be worth trying. no two cases of dementia are necessarily the same!
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
I'm amazed at how quickly my Mum's eyesight has gone downhill. She always had good vision for distance and only needed low strength glasses for reading. It is only just over two years since her last eye test. I'm wondering if much of her distress and confusion in hospital was due more to poor vision than dementia. Everywhere was very white and clinical, which would make it even harder for her to see where she was. It might be a good idea to get an eyesight test whenever a person suddenly becomes a lot more confused. Bad eyesight explains quite a few things.
Kayla
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
Hearing is the other factor which needs checking

Confusion, misunderstanding , etc often comes from poor hearing ........they hear what they think they hear and misconstrue everything

When it comes to my Mother the telephone now is impossible
add on her aphasia and you have major difficulties over and beyond the dementia
 

Kayla

Registered User
May 14, 2006
621
Kent
Mum is also quite hard of hearing, but she has been having trouble using her hearing aid, as it doesn't seem to fit properly any more. I suppose her ear could have changed shape a bit over time. I think I'll look into a new hearing test, and maybe she could have those hearing aids which fit onto glasses, which I've seen advertised. It must be very confusing to be in a strange place like a hospital, and not be able to hear or see properly. It would make any confusion due to dementia far worse. Mum does follow a conversation if she is focussed on what is being said and knows what is being talked about. If she is unwell, then she can't seem to concentrate at all.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
My Mother has an appointment in September to consider whether surgery for her cataracts will be appropriate. Unfortunately, along with the stroke related dementia she has hemianopsia (loss of half the visual field due to the strokes). Although she has needed reading and distance glasses for the longest time, she can no longer remember to put them on, and even when reminded, she does not even seem able to "process" the information she can see. I think surgery would be pretty pointless. but we'll see what they have to say. Actually, even being read to taxes her patience, so her inabaility to read or watch TV is not entirely due to her visual problems. Having said that, I did research what the surgery would entail, and I was told that since it is done with a local anesthetic, I would be able to stay with her to reassure her while the surgery was going on, and that they would give her valium or similar to keep her calm. I don't think it will happen, but you might want to check exactly what they are prepared to do do make the whole process easier.

Jennifer