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Vision difficulties
Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:42 PM
Joined: 12/9/2012
Posts: 12

Hi.  My DH was dx'd with EOAD in Sept. of 2010.  At our last visit with the specialists following his care (he sees the folks at the Memory Disorders Clinic at Georgetown University Hosp. In D.C.), his MMSE score is 9.  In Sept. of 2010 it was 20, and doctors say the 3 or 4 point decline per year is normal.  Prior to his diagnosis, he needed reading glasses. He's lost his ability to read now, but has complained of seeing a lot of floaters (he had them prior to the dx too).  He's complained about his vision lately as much as he can, as he has severe aphasia.  Has anyone else dealt with vision difficulties?  If so, what did you do for it?  I hate the thought that he's suffering in any way from this, on top of this humiliating disease.

Thanks for any guidance.

Missy in Md.

worried husband
Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 10:04 PM
Joined: 8/15/2012
Posts: 76



My 69 year-old wife has been diagnosed with mixed dementia (vascular dementia and Alzheimers) and she has increased difficulty in finding things right in front of her.  She can see them when I point them out, but I do not think things register in her brain when she just looks by herself.


She also has lost all interest in reading.  I think this is just one more problem associated with dementia.

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 12:21 AM
Joined: 10/9/2012
Posts: 1361


Worried huband, Alan has both VasD and AD and he is the same as your wife.   Can't see things that are obvious.   However I think  in Alan's case the message from the eyes to the brain is the problem.  He often mistakes the remote control for the phone, or lately a spoon for a fork.    He sometimes complains that it is 'dark' when it is actually quite light.


MissyinMD   Alan doesn't read even the newspapers now.   I think he forgets the top of the column by the time he gets to the bottom.   Even though they say around 4 points drop every year Alan's  MMSE went from a score of 15 to 5 in twelve months.    That was a shock.

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 6:34 AM
Joined: 3/19/2013
Posts: 314

Help me out ,what is MMSE, my wife is having some minor problems
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 6:52 AM
Joined: 2/28/2013
Posts: 134

Leeland, there is actually a thread about MMSE a few rows down.  May be helpful.
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 9:50 AM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 151


Vision problems were part of the first symptoms I noticed in 2005. My H went to 3 different eye specialist, and had surgery on his L eye. A surgery that probably shouldn't have happened. He continues to demonstrate problems even in this late stage. We had a CT in 2005, but wasn't until 2008 that we knew he had major problems. His vision is terrible, and he is a high fall risk. I took him to his eye Dr. a few months ago, and she found his eyes very dry. She described this as being like an abrasion, probably caused by him sleeping with his eyes partly open and it can be very painful.. He can't follow instructions, so eye exams are very difficult. We now use special lubricating eye drops, and his complaint of discomfort is much less. He can't read, find things right in front of him, and runs into things. He now uses a walker, and has experienced many recent falls. He has worn glasses for years, and now will frequently take his glasses off, and doesn't know he doesn't have them on. Not sure how well he can see, but he has difficulty with walking , stepping off steps or curbs, and will fall if not supported.

We made his last glasses tinted, and we use good sunglasses when outside.

Hope you have a good day.

TO in Oklahoma

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 1:30 PM
Joined: 10/7/2012
Posts: 90

  Dear Missy,


  My EODH is in late stage 6 and he has lost his ability to see just as you describe...I understand that just happens as the brain is being damaged by the wrath of AlZ.  Getting his eyes checked is always good but I understand there is nothing that can be done until the cure is found.

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:43 PM
Joined: 5/30/2013
Posts: 1198

My wife, also with EOAD also saw a lot of floaters.  I think this is just part of the disease.  As far as other vision complaints, I found my wife would complain of issues because she couldn't read a novel, or follow a hymn in a hymn book on Sunday's.  She was losing that ability, but was equating it to vision problems.  I don't think there is anything to be done, its just part of the disease.
Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 8:08 PM
Joined: 2/14/2012
Posts: 1752

One of the very first symptoms to emerge in Alzheimer's is "visual agnosia."  This is when the eyes function normally but the brain doesn't interpret the signals properly.  It expresses itself in many different ways, and can come and go.  Our loved ones may not be able to identify an object or person they're looking at, or they may not be able to tell where an object is in space relative to everything around it, or they may not be able to distinguish objects that are too similar in color, or they may be able to see food on one side of a plate but not the other.

One of our members who had AD talked about going out for a walk, and being approached by a shapeless amoeba.  The amoeba started talking to her, and she recognized a friend by her voice.  As they stood there chatting, the amoeba gradually morphed into her friend.

Another member talked about visiting a shopping mall.  He browsed in a store and then wanted to leave.  When he approached the exit ... the big glass doors weren't there.  Confused, he retraced his steps.  He tried approaching the place he thought the doors should be ... nope, nothing.  The third time he approached the place, the doors materialized in front of him.


My husband would be looking for something that was right in front of him.  For example, one day, he couldn't find his shaver, which was sitting right where he always kept it, next to the sink.  I picked it up and turned it on and put it in his hand.  The familiar sound and feel helped him recognize it again.

Visual agnosia can cause serious safety issues, so we need to be aware of what's going on and take steps to make the home environment safer.



Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 8:27 AM
Joined: 9/4/2012
Posts: 469

I recently asked similar questions & have just become familiar with the term visual agnosia.  My mom does pretty well on a daily basis, diagnosed with MCI one year ago after a small stroke.  The last few months I began noticing that we do not see the same things!  It happens very seldom though and no way a safety issue.
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