How Can Dementia Affect a Senior’s Vision?

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The neuron damage that causes dementia isn’t confined to the areas of the brain that enable cognitive function. The problem extends to many different areas, which often causes visual disturbances. When caregivers notice a change in a senior loved one’s behaviors, the problem may be secondary to visual impairment. 

Narrowed Field of Vision

Normal age-related changes often affect vision. However, the alterations caused by dementia are more dramatic. The field of vision becomes much narrower. 

A senior with dementia may have vision that’s limited to a forward diameter of approximately 12 inches. Thus, the senior isn’t aware of any potential obstacles or dangers he or she can’t see because of impaired peripheral vision. 

Your loved one may bump into furniture or other items blocking pathways. For your parent’s safety, it’s a good idea to keep walkways broad and open.

Vision impairment resulting from dementia may make it difficult for seniors to complete everyday tasks on their own. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Reduced Information Processing

As the disorder progresses, the brain becomes unable to properly process the visual information it receives. When the brain is overwhelmed with information, it commonly stops receiving input from one eye. The senior then loses vision in the affected eye, which wreaks havoc with depth perception. 

In effect, seniors with dementia lose the ability to distinguish between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects and aren’t able to perceive the depth or height of stairs or the difference between the sidewalk and the street. The brain might also perceive floor or décor patterns as three-dimensional when contrasting colors are next to each other. 

Subsequent Behaviors

You might witness your loved one try to pick something out of the air. Your loved one may be attempting to turn off a light or a ceiling fan, but the lack of depth perception throws his or her physical ability off track. Your loved one may also perform strange movements at waist level when trying to pick something up off the floor. 


Visual changes often alter the brain’s ability to distinguish shadows or differences in light. The impaired information the brain perceives may cause seniors with dementia to see animals, objects, or people who aren’t there. 

Make sure interior spaces are well lit. Contrasting colors also enable seniors to identify objects more clearly.

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 Montgomery 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.

Misinterpreted Information

As the brain jumbles input, your loved one might also mistakenly perceive the environment. Glossy surfaces may be interpreted as being wet. Dark-colored floors or spaces may be perceived as gaping holes. Reflections and shadows may cause fear. 

These types of problems are especially noticeable later in the day when the sun begins to set. The confusing interpretations often lead to anxiety, confusion, or aggression, which is another reason adequate interior lighting is crucial. 

Misidentified Objects

Along with lapses in memory, visual changes cause seniors with dementia to misidentify items. The brain damage incurred may cause your loved one to see an object as something else. However, due to the alterations in information input, correcting your parent is of little help and may cause more confusion and stress. 

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Montgomery families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (334) 593-3988 to schedule a free consultation.


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