Alzheimer’s disease is a serious neurological disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is often difficult to diagnose because it causes many non-specific symptoms that are often downplayed or attributed to completely different causes. One of these symptoms is very noticeable in everyday life.
Vision deterioration is quite a common phenomenon. People of all ages struggle with it. It is caused by an unhygienic lifestyle and spending a lot of time in front of screens (smartphone, TV, computer, etc.). Vision problems are often a natural consequence of aging. However, sometimes they may indicate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. We explain what exactly causes such changes and what should be an “alarm signal” that something bad is happening and you should consult a doctor.
Vision problems and Alzheimer’s disease
Research has shown that in people with Alzheimer’s disease, blood vessels in the retina may atrophy and, consequently, visual acuity may be impaired. According to scientists, the indicated changes in the visual system reflect the processes occurring in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (loss of connections between nerve cells).
Patients also often complain of problems with visual perception. They have great difficulty reading words, copying diagrams and tables, and perceiving more than one object at a time. Moreover, they are often unable to indicate the location of objects in space. The described problems do not result from eye disorders. They are the result of abnormalities in the functioning of the brain.
“Usually (patients – editor’s note) start by visiting an ophthalmologist. They want to get a prescription for new glasses. Only when the specialist realizes that the problem probably concerns the brain, not the eyes, does he refer the patient to a neurologist,” notes Professor Andrew Budson from the University of California, Boston.
It is worth emphasizing that Alzheimer’s disease can manifest itself in various ways. One of the “varieties” of this disease is the so-called visual form.
Visual form of Alzheimer’s disease
In the course of Alzheimer’s disease, the occipital lobes may be damaged. These brain areas are responsible for analyzing the perceived image. There are disturbances in the perception of spatial properties of stimuli, for example the distance between objects, as well as difficulties in recognizing faces (visual agnosia), colors and objects. The patient is unable to properly assess the stimuli reaching him. Has difficulty following what is read. These symptoms are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as behavioral changes or mood swings with a tendency to depression. As the disease progresses, cognitive impairment becomes more severe. There is currently no drug that can stop these changes. You can only slow them down.