How Does Parkinson’s Impact an Older Adult’s Vision?

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Can Parkinson's Affect Visual Ability in Aging Adults in Columbus, OH

Parkinson’s can negatively affect the visual cortex and damage cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Therefore, the disease can impact visual skills and mobility. Continue reading to learn some of the ways Parkinson’s can affect vision.

Difficulty Opening Eyelids

Parkinson’s causes muscle weakness, loose eyelids, and nerve damage that can make it difficult for seniors to open their eyes. The border of the upper eyelid will fall to a lower position. In some cases, the eyelid droops so low it covers the pupil and interferes with vision. Special eyeglasses could prop open your aging loved one’s eyelids and make it easier to see. However, you should always consult your parent’s primary care physician to determine the best way to handle droopy eyelids and other visual problems caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Challenges with Controlling Eye Movements

Three types of eye movements could change with Parkinson’s: pursuit, saccadic, and vergence. Pursuit eye movements allow your loved one to follow an object as it moves, whereas saccadic motion directs the eyes to one specific thing. Vergence eye movements allow your loved one to roll his or her eyes in different directions. The inability to control eye movements could lead to visual difficulties and decrease independence.

If your loved one is experiencing issues with vision, he or she may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated elderly home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Dry Eyes

Parkinson’s disease can kill retinal cells in the eyes. Seniors rely on these cells for dopamine production and color perception. As Parkinson’s progresses, your parent will blink less, which could lead to burning, itching, and dryness in the eyes. This visual disturbance could make it difficult to take on daily activities such as reading, cooking, cleaning, and walking. The dryness also affects the ability to perceive colors, which makes some shades appear duller. The color perception is changed due to the loss of retinal cells and the decrease in dopamine production.

Visual Hallucinations

Seniors living with Parkinson’s have a higher risk of seeing things that aren’t there. If you notice your loved one seeing people or objects that aren’t visible to you, he or she may be experiencing visual hallucinations. These issues could affect your loved one’s functional skills and make daily life more challenging. To treat this problem, your loved one’s doctor may prescribe medications to ease Parkinson’s symptoms such as hallucinations without impairing motor skills.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to handle, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Columbus Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Blurred Vision

One of the early symptoms of Parkinson’s is blurred vision, and it’s often a side effect of medications used to treat the neurodegenerative disease. Some of the warning signs include squinting and eye strain. If your loved one has this symptom, he or she will likely experience blurred vision at all distances. Your parent’s doctor may recommend glasses or alternative treatments to handle the visual challenges.

Many seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can continue to live at home, but they’ll most likely need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Columbus, OH, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (614) 481-8888 today.


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