Vision changes can cause strange dementia behavior

    Dementia causes a variety of changes in the brain, including how the eyes see and how the brain processes the information the eyes bring in.

    When seniors with Alzheimer’s disease  or dementia behave in strange ways, we might assume they’re hallucinating.

    Hallucination is a possible symptom, but the behavior could also be explained by changes in their vision.

    But this strange behavior can be incredibly stressful for us to observe. We think the worst of our older adult’s mental state and worry that they’re declining more quickly.

    Knowing about vision changes helps you understand why your older adult could be doing these things, reduces fear and worry, and makes dementia care a little easier.

    In this 2 minute video, expert dementia educator Teepa Snow explains how dementia can change vision and what type of behaviors we might see because of those vision changes.

    1. Field of vision narrows Teepa explains that by the time we’re 75 years old, the normal changes related to aging reduce our normal peripheral vision a little bit, so we’re not able to see and notice as much as we would when we were younger (17 sec in video) .

    When someone has dementia, their field of vision narrows to about 12 inches around. As Teepa says, it’s like wearing binoculars (33 sec in video) .

    If you were to use binoculars and try to move around normally, it would be very difficult.

    2. The brain shuts down information, making it harder to see things right in front of them As dementia advances, the brain may find that the information coming in through two eyes is too overwhelming.

    So, it effectively shuts down the information coming from one eye – at that point, your older adult could basically be seeing through one eye (56 sec in video) .

    That means they lose depth perception and can’t tell if something is two-dimensional or three-dimensional.

    That makes it hard for your older adult to know if something is a pattern in the carpet or an object on the floor, a real apple or a picture of an apple, or what the chair seat’s height is (1 min 23 sec in video) .

    3. Changes in vision cause behavior changes that don’t make sense to us These changes in vision can cause someone to do things that seem strange to us.

    Teepa shows how someone might seem like they’re picking at the air, but they’re actually trying to turn off the ceiling light because it seems much closer than it really is (1 min 59 sec in video) .

    Because they don’t have depth perception, they don’t know how far away the light really is.

    Your older adult might also bend over slightly and start picking at the air around waist level.

    That looks strange to us, but they could be trying to pick something up from the floor. They just don’t have depth perception to know that the floor is still a couple of feet away.

    This type of behavior might look very strange to us, but your older adult is just responding to the world as they see it and it makes complete sense to them.

    If we were seeing what they were, we’d probably be doing the same things.

    Next Step     Find out why dementia changes eyesight from expert Teepa Snow (2 min 49 sec)

    Recommended for you:

    • Dementia Friendly Home: 4 Ways to Make Things Easier to See
    • Solve Challenging Alzheimer’s Behaviors with Expert Communication Tips
    • 10 Ways to Respond to Dementia Hallucinations in Seniors

    By DailyCaring Editorial Team

    This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money .

    Does dementia affect the eyes?
    However, people with dementia can also have visual difficulties because the dementia affects the parts of their brain that handle visual information coming from the eyes. This means they will have visual problems, but have healthy eyes. more
    Does dementia affect eyesight?
    If you have a dementia, you might have visual difficulties but still have healthy eyes. These problems are caused by the effects of dementia on the brain. Dementia conditions that can affect your vision include: Lewy body dementia. more
    Does dementia affect bowel movements?
    People with dementia or confusion may not notice the urge to empty their bladder or bowels. This can lead to wetting of pants or leaking of normal bowel actions. A common time for bowel motions to happen is soon after a meal, often after breakfast. more
    Does eye color Affect Attractiveness?
    The color values of the iris and sclera were measured. As an additional subsample, 50% of the participants were asked what features of each eye area they found particularly appealing. Results: Most surprisingly, no correlation was found between iridal color and rated attractiveness. more
    How does coffee affect dementia?
    In the CAIDE study, coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life. In conclusion, coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD. more
    Does dementia affect eyesight?
    If you have a dementia, you might have visual difficulties but still have healthy eyes. These problems are caused by the effects of dementia on the brain. Dementia conditions that can affect your vision include: Lewy body dementia. more
    Does dementia affect bowels?
    As Alzheimer's disease progresses, it is common for incontinence of the bladder and bowels to occur, particularly in the middle and late stages. There are many causes, as well as ways to help manage incontinence. more
    Why does dementia affect mobility?
    A person with dementia may have their mobility affected in a number of ways, most noticeably by slower movement due to reduced control of muscles. more
    Do blood thinners affect dementia?
    A new study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute of more than 10,000 patients treated long term with the blood thinner, Warfarin, reveals higher rates of dementia for patients with atrial fibrillation versus patients without the common heart rhythm disorder. more
    Does gabapentin affect dementia?
    Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant that appears to have a unique mechanism of antiseizure activity, is another drug that has been considered for the treatment of agitation in dementia. more
    Does dementia affect your bowels?
    As Alzheimer's disease progresses, it is common for incontinence of the bladder and bowels to occur, particularly in the middle and late stages. There are many causes, as well as ways to help manage incontinence. more

    Source: dailycaring.com

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