Alzheimer's Patients' Vision Going Uncorrected

Old or missing glasses further isolate nursing home residents, study finds

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TUESDAY, July 26, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- One in three nursing home residents with Alzheimer's disease are not getting their vision corrected so they can see clearly, a new study finds.

"Many nursing home residents are losing out on stimulation," lead investigator Dr. James M. Koch, a resident in the department of internal medicine at Saint Louis University, said in a prepared statement. "They may not be able to see the television, read books or interact appropriately."

Reporting in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, Koch interviewed nearly 100 nursing home patients and found that one-third were not using or did not have glasses strong enough to correct their eyesight.

Vision problems can aggravate symptoms of dementia by making it more difficult for a person to function, Koch pointed out. "These patients become so sensory-deprived that they are virtually shut off from the outside world," he said.

He recommends labeling eyewear so it can be returned to its owner if misplaced, having a spare pair to replace missing glasses, and ensuring that all nursing home residents receive at least biannual eye exams.

More information

The National Institutes of Health have more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCES: Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, news release, July 19, 2005

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