6 Vision-Boosting Tips for Someone With Dementia

6 Vision-Boosting Tips for Someone With Dementia
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Some of the confusion of dementia can actually be the result of low vision. The good news: This kind of trouble is reversible. How you can help:

  1. Make cleaning the person's glasses part of the morning routine. A rinse under tap water is fine. You might be surprised how oblivious your loved one can be to cloudy lenses.

  2. Keep a spare pair, since those who wear glasses are prone to losing them. Or just keep on hand the most recent old pair.

  3. Check through the day that glasses are on. If your loved one misplaces them, he or she may forget to keep looking and not even realize they're missing.

  4. Turn on extra lights, so the house is well lit -- especially at night.

  5. Always bring glasses to the hospital, and make sure your loved one has access to them whenever possible. Glasses are often taken off for procedures or exams and then not returned, and someone with dementia can forget to ask for them.

  6. Keep up regular eye exams. This simple step can correct vision problems that are mistaken for signs of worsening dementia yet have nothing at all to do with brain function.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

almost 4 years, said...

Yes very helpful, but when we went to the optician because Maddy has posterior cortical atrophy, they would not give her a test. Yes i realize that pca presents itself as visual problems, that´s not the whole story, surely if the image does not get to the eyes, she has no chance!

almost 6 years, said...

I've noticed lately my loved one asks for me to clean his glasses much more often. You are right. I need to make it an automatic morning activity.

about 6 years, said...

Good points. Question: I just talked to an eye doctor that works with senior vision patients. One problem with dementia patients is following directions or making decisions on the eye test, therefore new lenses could be the wrong prescription. Sometimes better to just keeping using the current glasses. I was ready to take her to get eyes checked - been a year since last one. Any feedback? Not sure what to do now. She also has some macular degeneration.

over 6 years, said...

i always thought turning on more lights was helpful, but mom goes around turning them off again!!! if i stress how it will help her to see, it might help.

over 6 years, said...

These steps were very helpful which I will share with the support group that I facilitate.

over 6 years, said...

Don't just turn up the lights check for glare that is making it hard to see. Sometimes it's not just how much light but the direction it is coming from and making it brighter will only make it worse.

almost 7 years, said...

Everything. The more I learn about the symptoms that my loved one is exhibiting may be due to something so simple as the daily washing of his glasses! Already keep several pairs of glasses of his glasses on hand. Didn't think about making sure he gets his glasses as soon as possible while in a hospital stay. Thanks! Keep the info coming....judith

almost 7 years, said...

Keeping all of our glasses clean is a big issue with our family. We have group clean-ins two or three times a day. Our daughter is legally blind and has a swiss-cheese type of visual field cuts. Her eyelashes are so long that her glasses are always in need of cleaning and we figure if we have to do hers we might as well do ours too.