Seeking advice on problems with eyesight

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Sally Preston, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Sally Preston

    Sally Preston Registered User

    May 14, 2008
    South Shields
    Hello everyone, i'm after any advice/information/experience that anyone can give me in relation to the problems my mam is experiencing with deterioration in eyesight, sensitivity to light, and dry eyes. Mam has been through a nightmare few months with hallucinations, night wanderings, aggression and self harming behaviour among other problems. She has now been prescribed Aricept with good response and all above problems have disappeared for the present time.

    Currently if you were to ask her what her main problems are apart from the obvious memory problems she would say they all stem from problems with poor eyesight, she struggles to cope with bright lights in shops and cannot bear to watch the television as this hurts. She has very dry eyes which she is prescribed eye drops but these last about 10mins and then dry up again.

    Sometimes she says she cannot see me clearly when I am sitting opposite her and other times she can see a tiny object close by.

    Mam has her eyes checked yearly and she has had a new prescription in June, we got a pair that react to changes in light. We were also told that she has a mild cataract in 1 eye, not sufficient to warrant surgery yet.

    I have read some information about the relation between dementia and visual problems, but am keen to know whether anyone has had any positive experience of assessment of any sort, around any of the problems mam is experiencing, or is it generally accepted that this is part of the course.

    I am not sure whether I should be asking for a further appointment with GP/optician and would appreciate any response.

    Wishing you all well

    Sally Preston
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Sally

    I can only tell you one thing for sure. Cataracts make people very light sensitive. My husband wears sunglasses and a baseball cap at all times when he is out.

    Your mother sounds in a lot of discomfort. I would explore every avenue to try to get help to make her more comfortable.
  3. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    I'm sure your optician is very thorough, but did they just do a reading test (letters off a board) or a complete examination?
    Something else to watch out for is macular degeneration, it might be worth a phone call to check if they looked for signs of theis.

    Best wishes
  4. harvey

    harvey Registered User

    Aug 10, 2007
    My MIL has similar problems with eyesight. She tells us she can not see things or read letters from the bank etc. She has had eye tests and is due to have an operation this month to lift a drooping eyelid. The consultant carried out a thorough eye examination and apart from the slight cateract which he said was mild could find nothing else wrong. She repeated that she could not see properly and so he examined her again. He then said that there is no reason why she can not see as there is nothing to indicate that she had any other sight problems. We bought her a large magnifying glass to try and help but she told us it did not and does not use it.
    We think the problem is due to her dementia as she often reads out road signs and shop signs when we are out in the car. When I had teletext on the TV she read out the articles to me. I think it may be she is unable to process text not that she cannot see it. She often tells us about things she sees at the bottom of the garden, I have problems seeing that far!
    She also dislikes bright light and nearly always wears sunglasses when we are out.
    I am hoping someone will reply with a little more information for you, it might help us to understand the problems.

  5. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    #5 Helen33, Sep 4, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
    Hello Sally

    Hi Sally, although I cannot relate to the dry eyes and light sensitivity, my husband had a recent optician's appointment when he was told the same thing about a small cataract. I decided that if if would need operating on at all in my husband's life, then it ought to be now whilst he can follow instruction. The point of me telling you this is not that you follow the same route necessarily but that it did lead to very thorough examinations at the opthalmologist at the local hospital and I think it is there that they have the expertise and equipment to do thorough examinations. They also know what to look for etc.

    I certainly think it's worth going back to the optician because, for us, it was the optician that set the ball rolling. At first he said the cataract did not need surgery at this time but he understood when I explained that if it needed doing at all, it needed doing as soon as possible. The consultant opthalmologist agreed and it is now done.

    In your case a thorough examination could be a process of elimination and if your mum gets the all clear then you will know it could be down to either side effects of medication or something to do with the dementia. If the examination(s) show something wrong you will then be in a position to make an informed choice.
    Love and best wishes
  6. Dgirl

    Dgirl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2007
    Dublin, Ireland
    Hi Sally

    My mum has probs with her eyesight. She quite often complains about seeing colours in front of them - purple. She also sees double at times too. Took us ages to work out why she seemed to think there were more people in the room that there actually were. There is nothing wrong with her eyesight its unfortunately just the AZ - however on a bright side it was the perfect excuse to use to stop her driving and she went along with that happily enough (albeit she thinks she can drive again when her eyes get better).
  7. beech mount

    beech mount Registered User

    Sep 1, 2008

    My wife has dry eye and macular degeneration,within two years of being told she had a z she lost the ability to read and now gets severe pains in either eye,the optician can find nothing wrong.Ifind a cold compress helps.The cause? i think the optic nerve.
  8. Sally Preston

    Sally Preston Registered User

    May 14, 2008
    South Shields
    Thanks for all your reply's, seems like it's a problem shared by lots of alzheimer sufferer's, I'll mention it again next time we are at GP's, and speak in more detail to the optician.

    Wish you all well

  9. beech mount

    beech mount Registered User

    Sep 1, 2008

    Good luck with your GP ours will not see us if it is related to AZ.Ifind a cold comprese helps a lot.Best wishes.

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