Vision Problems Associated with Alzheimer’s DiseasePosted by WBHI on Jun 19, 2012 in Helpful Thinking, Think About It
by The Alzheimer’s Association:
Vision problems are a concern because more than sixty percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s will have a decline in some sort of visual capacity. Problems most often arise in four areas: motion blindness, depth perception, color perception, and contrast sensitivity.
Some people with Alzheimer’s are affected by motion blindness and are unable to sense movement. For these people they view the world as a series of still frames, rather than a “movie” that most people see. Doctors have theorized that this view of the world causes affected persons to become lost, even in familiar surroundings.
Persons with Alzheimer’s may also lose depth perception. Three-dimensional objects may begin to appear flat. This lack of perception could make shadows or a dark rug look like holes.
Many people will experience their color perception diminish as they age. However, persons with Alzheimer’s seem to experience a greater deficit of color perception, especially with colors in the blue-violet range.
The ability to see contrast between colors, not just the color itself, also is reduced in persons with Alzheimer’s. For example, if a bathroom has the same color toilet as the floor and walls, the person may have difficulty finding the toilet.
Tips for caregivers to help the individual with Alzheimer’s:
- Because colors in the blue-violet range all look the same, caregivers may want to use the color red to make items stand out. The retina has more receptors to see red making the color easier for most people to see.
- Increasing color contrast in a room may help a person with Alzheimer’s more easily locate items.
- Painting a baseboard a contrasting color to the walls may help the person distinguish where the walls end and the floor begins.
- Increase the wattage of light bulbs and reduce the amount of glare in a room by pulling down shades and covering glass surfaces.
- Add extra lighting in areas between rooms and bathrooms because changes in light can be disorienting.
- Place contrasting colored rugs in front of doors and steps to help the individual anticipate stairs and entrances.
Source: Massachusetts Chapter newsletter