Is vision loss associated with dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 24, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My Mother is in the advanced stages of dementia. She still recognizes her children's voices, but is unable to focus on anything and keeps asking, "Where are you?" On my last visit with her she could not focus on her great-grandbaby and kept saying, "Where's the baby? I want to see the baby." Is this part of the process of dementia or is she suddenly losing her sight?

Expert Answers

Lylas Mogk, M.D. is an ophthalmologist and director of the Henry Ford Visual Rehabilitation and Research Center in Grosse Pointe and Livonia, Michigan, and the author of Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight.

Dementia does not cause vision loss, but it does impair the individual's ability to recognize people and objects. If her vision is actually decreased enough to be unable to see an object as large as a baby, then I would expect that she would have difficulty finding her plate to eat, for example, or finding a chair to sit in or walking around without bumping into objects. If she can do these things with no trouble then it's probably a recognition problem. If she's not able to do these things, then she should see an ophthalmologist.