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OutsideClinic on the importance of eye care in dementia management

Dementia Action Week serves as an annual reminder of the critical yet often neglected aspect of dementia care: vision health. 

The PrOVIDe study highlighted that many older adults with dementia, particularly those in care facilities, suffer from visual impairments that are treatable with corrective spectacles or cataract surgery.

Visual impairments in dementia are commonly under-diagnosed, as the symptoms can be obscured by or mistaken for other dementia-related behaviours. 

Contrary to widespread beliefs, the majority of individuals with dementia can successfully undergo eye examinations, with the PrOVIDe study showing that most eye examination elements could be performed on more than 80% of participants.

Responding to this need, OutsideClinic has developed specialised training for their optometrists to effectively address and manage the unique challenges faced by individuals with dementia, ensuring compassionate, tailored and person-centred care.

The story of Jean, a resident from Cherry Lodge Care Home, shows the impact of adequate vision care. Misunderstanding her own limitations due to dementia, Jean initially resisted help. However, once properly diagnosed by OutsideClinic and treated, she regained significant independence; she began using the bathroom on her own and eating her food by herself, markedly improving her day-to-day life.

Read Jean’s story here. 

During this Dementia Action Week, it is crucial for caregivers and healthcare providers to recognise the importance of vigilant vision care in dementia management. Identifying and addressing visual impairments early can substantially enhance quality of life for those affected.

NHS eye tests are free for anyone over 60 years old. And care home residents who are unable to leave the home unaccompanied may also be entitled to a free mobile sight test, where the Optometrist comes to them with portable eye testing equipment.

Healthcare providers seeking to learn more about the signs of vision impairment in dementia and practical steps for management can find resources on the RNIB website or get in touch with OutsideClinic for advice.

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