December 2010

Dr Declan McKeefry and Dr Ruth Bartlett, University of Bradford

Regular eye examinations are important for people with dementia, and improving the uptake of sight tests would seem to be an important step in improving their vision and in examining eye health, according to a study published by Thomas Pocklington Trust. Currently, optometrists who provide domiciliary services can be expected to play an important role in delivering this improvement because people with dementia and sight loss are more likely than other people to experience difficulties/barriers in accessing optometrists’ practices. However, more needs to be done to improve sight testing services for people with dementia.

Key Facts:

  • Professional guidelines relating to sight tests and eye examinations of people with dementia are not specific to the problems experienced by people with dementia.
  • There is a lack of research into which vision tests are more appropriate for people with dementia.
  • Improving the training of optometric and clinical staff is an essential factor in improving eye care of people with dementia.
  • Regular eye examinations are important for people with dementia, and improving the uptake of sight tests would seem to be an important step in improving their vision and in examining eye health.

How can this research help?

The research has highlighted the need for further research to develop and evaluate assessment procedures, tools and techniques for the eye examination of people with dementia.

Links: 

Research Discussion Paper: Improving Vision and Eye Health Care to People with Dementia – PDF version and Word version