Some Alzheimer's care patients report having vision problems before they realize they're developing the disease, and they don't know it's a sign of dementia.
Dr Pierre-Francois Kaeser and Dr Francois-Xavier Borruat are neuro-ophthalmologists who examined 10 patients who lost their vision without any apparent explanation. Their research was based on the theory that some people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience vision problems before losing their memory.
"Ophthalmologists should be aware of the possibility of the visual variant of Alzheimer's disease (VVAD) in patients with unexplained vision problems, particularly difficulty with reading," said Dr Kaeser. "Suspect VVAD when a patient tests well for visual acuity but has vision complaints that are unusual or severe for late middle age. Refer him for neurological evaluation."
The 10 patients the doctors examined were eventually diagnosed with VVAD. Patients suffering from this form of AD are different than others not only because they have trouble seeing, but also because they develop the disease at an earlier age.
Providing Alzheimer's care early on can reportedly have a positive impact on the quality of life of the person with the disease.