How necessary is an eye exam for someone with dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 21, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How necessary is the eye exam in regard to the stage where they put drops in the eyes. Since they cannot judge the difference in the pictures to tell the doctor and I would have to sedate my husband for him to sit there. He has had no problems up to now and he is in his 80's.

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

I have such mixed emotions answering this question. My first response relates to having the eye exam to rule out problems that could cause discomfort. Since it is sometimes difficult for a person with dementia to report the discomfort, an exam may be the only way to diagnose such medical problems as Glaucoma,etc. Now, with that said, I would carefully weigh all you and he must endure to have the eye exam and whether or not the possible negative test results are worth the turmoil of the visit. Best bet is to state your very real concerns to your Primary Care Physician and let him/her respond to the need and use this response as your guide. I wish you well.