Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on an Aging Adult’s Eyes

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Even when their eyesight is normal, seniors with Alzheimer’s could face difficulty processing and interpreting visual information. This is because the disease affects the visual cortex, which is the part of the brain that helps people understand what they are seeing. These visual processing changes often follow a predictable pattern that can influence the behavior of seniors with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few potential changes in vision that accompany Alzheimer’s disease.

Inability to Judge Depth and Dimension

Even in a familiar environment, a person with Alzheimer’s may be unable to correctly determine depth and distance. For example, carpeted stairs may appear to be a level floor while a solid floor around a patterned rug may appear to be a bottomless pit. Try to install a single type of flooring throughout the house, opt for solid colors, and avoid busy patterns. 

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the many health conditions seniors are susceptible to. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Coral Gables home care company you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Lack of Peripheral Vision

By the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, most seniors have a field of vision of only about 12 inches in diameter. To understand this effect, try circling your eyes with your fingers like binoculars. Help your loved one manage the loss of peripheral vision by keeping essential everyday items directly in front of him or her.

Decreased Sensitivity to Color Contrast

Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have trouble discerning subtle shade differences between colors. For example, your loved one may not see a scoop of mashed potatoes on a white plate or realize a clear glass is full of water. You can help your loved one by using tablecloths, placemats, and plates in contrasting colors to make the food and drinks easier to identify.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming at times, but this challenge does not have to be faced alone. Coral Gables respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Confusion Over Glares, Reflections, and Shadows

An individual with Alzheimer’s may misjudge glares, reflections, or shadows as real objects or people. One theory suggests lengthening shadows and glares created as the sun starts to set in the evening may contribute to the “sundowning” phenomenon in seniors with Alzheimer’s. You can reduce this visual confusion by pulling curtains, turning on extra lights, and covering mirrors and other reflective objects. 

Inability to Interpret Visual Noise

To a person with Alzheimer’s, complex patterns and multiple overlapping images can be impossible to organize and interpret. Your loved one may not know which image is worth paying attention to, or he or she may misinterpret an image. Try to keep your loved one’s environment as neat, organized, and free from clutter as possible. When choosing décor, avoid complex patterns and designs. 

Right Eye Dominance

Some seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have difficulty processing information from the left eye. For example, your loved one may not be able to see the glass sitting to the left of his or her plate. You can compensate for the impaired vision by rearranging objects in your loved one’s environment. To avoid startling your loved one, approach him or her from the right.

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Coral Gables, FL, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. To create a comprehensive live-in, respite, Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, or Parkinson’s care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 1 (305) 964-5636 today.