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Alzheimer's nursing residents vision goes uncorrected

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Updated: June 6, 2006

A study by Dr. James M. Koch, Department of Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University found that one in three nursing home residents were not having their vision corrected.

In the research, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, Dr Koch interviewed nearly 100 nursing home residents and found that resident's sight was impaired because they did not have glasses that were strong enough for them to see properly or that they were not using their glasses.

This disturbing piece of research highlights some of the problems of residents being cared for in nursing homes. Some resident's glasses had gone missing, some did not wear their glasses or were not given their glasses to wear, some people just had not had their vision checked so where wearing glasses that were inadequate.

It is so easy for professional caregivers to forget simple things like putting on someone's glasses. Vision difficulties can increase the problems for those in their care and can end up creating more work.

Someone who is demented may be already confused and isolated. Not wearing their glasses can increase their distress and significantly increase problems. Problems with behavior, incontinence, participation in activities, feeding difficulties. The potential for problems are unlimited and all because the people with dementia have vision problems.

Recommendations to improve vision difficulties in nursing care facilities
Dr Kosh recommends;

  • Labeling eyewear so it can be returned to its owner if misplaced.

  • Having a spare pair to replace missing glasses.

  • Ensuring that all nursing home residents receive at least biannual eye exams.
  • Article Source: Dr. James M. Koch Department of Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University July 2005

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