• 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.

Vascular Dementia & Poor Eyesight

sandy25

Registered User
Nov 30, 2005
54
Does anyone have any experience of this. Dad is quite bad now and whats making it worse is that his eyes tend to be v.glazed and he stares a lot, at nothing in particular. He doesn't focus on objects and as a result needs help with drinks and food. He doesn't look at you when you talk to him. But sometimes quite randomly he will focus, but 80% of the time he doesn't.

I'm worried that he might have something wrong with his eyes - or is this just a normal symptom of dementia?
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
My Jan who has mixed dementia, including vascular, is registered blind now.

Her eyes are organically ok but the dementia has killed the neural connections that enable her to see. Muscle control has also gone so the eyes are no longer aligned.

It does happen sometimes that sight is affected with vascular dementia.

unfortunately
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
It might be, it might not. Nice and definitive I know (sorry).

I do know that strokes (definitely major and possible minor) can cause someing called hemianopsia which is loss of half the visual field, because that happened to my mother. There is nothing actually wrong with the eyes - it is that the information isn't processed properly.

The problem, of course, is that it is very difficult to get a accurate eye test done on someone with dementia. And of course even if you do, will it be possible to fix the problem?

If you think it might be something to do with his eyes rather than the processing of the information, you might want to contact your local AS branch to see if they have recoomendations about optometrists who might have some experience in testing dementia sufferers.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
jenniferpa said:
The problem, of course, is that it is very difficult to get a accurate eye test done on someone with dementia
very true! in Jan's case, impossible.

although the assessment ward and Jan's home are on the same site as the hospital, the doctor had no idea about dementia at all. No tests were possible, just brief observation which was conclusive.
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
What can I add. Lionel sees, but does not register. Looks the opposite way to vocal stimulation, responds more to sound, touch than vision.

Blind no, unable to 'see' yes. Makes no sense to me.
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
My Mother suddenly developed Cataracts and they were operated on about 2 yrs before her death last Nov

Her sight was sure sharp enough in June when I installed a new washing machine ............she complained it was whiter than the fridge it was next too !!!!!!!!!
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,405
Kent
My husband, even with catracts sees better than I do, but if he is looking for something and I try to direct him towards it, he cannot `see` it.
 

dave b

Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
63
staffs
when i went away on holiday this year momn had a carer who stopped 24/7
while i was away.she was concerned that mom couldn't see so so she took to an
optician(in store firm) he said she had cateracts, refererd back to our gp, who asked for more info we went to our usual optician.very thougher
no cats.felt it must be a short circuit between the eye & brain
could be thats your dads problem
dave x
 

harvey

Registered User
Aug 10, 2007
71
MIL has problems too. She used to be an avid reader and when she stopped reading we put this down to her bad eyesight. She had a cat op two years ago and we thought everything would be fine. Although the hospital told her the op was successful she said it had not worked and she felt it had made her eyesight worse. At the time we were unaware she was suffering from dementia and took her word for it. We then bought her some talking books which never came out of the wrappings. It was only after the demetia diagnosis that we started to put 2 & 2 together. She uses a strong magnifying glass to read when letters arrive. What has puzzled us is that she can see birds in the garden and is able to apply her mascara when we take her out. She flatly refuses to let us take her to the optician. I thought that perhaps she no longer has the concentration to absorb what she is reading and so does not bother. She does close one eye to peer at text through her magnifying glass.
 

SteveS

Registered User
Jun 20, 2007
41
60
Altrincham, cheshire
my experience is that Dad started to "glaze over" - the hospital reckoned he just found it hard to recognise people, as the disease progressed couldn't put names to faces or react to voices. He seemed to keep it all in his head and when nhe spoke it was about something going on in his mind - curiously a sequence of events that even we could make sense of.....:eek:
 

sandy25

Registered User
Nov 30, 2005
54
think I might still see if the care home can arrange for an appointment with the optician. as you all say though, it needs to be someone with dementia experience. He is so glazed, but then sometimes he does seem to be able to focus on you which is why it seems a bit random. but even the care home have mentioned an eye test would be worthwhile so will give that a go.

it just makes it so difficult when he's drinking and can't see the cup right in front of him - ends up spilling it. he's going into his only world more and more now.:(
 

Lynne

Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
3,433
Suffolk,England
:confused:
perhaps she no longer has the concentration to absorb what she is reading and so does not bother.
I think that's what is going on with my Mum. She used to be an avid reader - books, 2 daily newspapers (including all the crosswords!). Now she doesn't even look at the papers unless I draw her attention to something, & even then it feels like she's only humouring me. She CAN still read if I ask her to read something out to me (like if I leave a note on the fridge about something, for instance) but doesn't seem to want to bother.
However, she can still do better than me on the Countdown words. 'Go figure' as our US cousins would say.
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
Hi Lynne, good to know that mum can still beat you at Countdown.

I used to get Lionel to make simple words on that program until about April of this year. Such a shame when ability goes (Don't think ability is right word somehow).

Take care now, love
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,630
London
Hi Sandy,

Hope I'm not too late to pipe in:

The Royal National Institute for the Blind offers a couple of leafltets on Dementia and sight loss and improving environments for people with dementia.

Booklet: Dementia and sight loss in older people
Details: This leaflet is aimed at anyone who supports a person with dementia and provides information and advice around issues of sight loss.
Link: http://onlineshop.rnib.org.uk/display_item.asp?n=11&c=462&sc=33&id=263&it=2&l=3

Booklet: Improving environments for people with dementia and sight loss
Details: This leaflet is aimed at anyone who supports someone with dementia and provides information and advice on how to adapt the environment to assist someone with a sight problem.
Link: http://onlineshop.rnib.org.uk/display_item.asp?n=11&c=462&sc=33&id=264&it=2&l=3

The leaflets are only £1 and £1.25 and are full of helpful advice.

Hope this helps
Craig
 

sandy25

Registered User
Nov 30, 2005
54
Thanks Craig, just tried to purchase them but it doesn't seem to let you add them to the basket. Maybe they're not available anymore. Will keep trying though!

Sandy
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,630
London
Thanks for letting me know Sandy.

I've contacted them today and will let you know what is happening.
Hopefully they have not discountinued the booklets. I have copies myself but will need permission to copy them.

Dad has had a lot of problems with his eyes, even early to mid-stage. It is not helped by the fact that he won't wear glasses any more. Just keeps misplacing them or taking them off now.

Kind Regards
Craig
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,630
London
Hi Sandy,

The RNIB have been great and I'm hoping to get permission to reproduce the leaflets which have unfortunately been discontinued. I just need to get some legal thing sorted hopefully.

In the meantime they have given me a link to a document that may interest you are indeed anyone who has issues with severe site loss and dementia. It is and interesting find for me as it discusses the link with site loss hallucinations, both of which dad has experienced.

It is from the Thomas Pocklington Trust who provide housing and support for people with sight loss.

Dementia and serious sight loss
http://pocklingtons.live.poptech.coop/Shared_ASP_Files/UploadedFiles/7778CA97-28A8-482C-8383-3C4FF30778F2_OP11DementiaFebruary2007.pdf

If you right click on the link above a shortcut menu is displayed. Click on the 'Save Target As' option and you can save and keep a copy in case it ever disappears from the web like the last two documents did ;)

It looks like the Thomas Pocklington Trust do a lot of good work. Here is the link to their main site:

http://pocklingtons.live.poptech.coop/

Hope this helps and I will let you know if I get permission to pass on the two documents that were referred to earlier in this thread.

Kind Regards
Craig
 
Last edited:

sandy25

Registered User
Nov 30, 2005
54
Hi Craig
Think I've got round to looking at this a bit late! The links don't work anymore unfortunately. Did you get anywhere with teh RNIB publications?
Thanks
Sandy
 

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