If you have dementia and sight loss, we can point you in the direction of services, to make life easier. We also have a guide for your family, friends and carers, so that they can better understand your needs.
Many people in the UK have dementia and serious sight loss, so you are not alone. Most of them are over 65. Sight loss among people with dementia can be caused by:
Eye examinations are especially important for people with dementia because the symptoms of dementia may mask the symptoms of sight loss. If you have dementia, additional sight loss may also increase your risk of falls or sense of disorientation. We recommend that people have regular eye examinations. Sight tests every two years are free if you are over the age of 60. If you are over the age of 70 they are free annually. In Scotland sight tests are free for all ages, and over 60s are seen annually. An eye examination will check your vision, to ensure you have the correct glasses, as well as your eye health.
Wearing the correct glasses for the task at hand is also really important but identifying the right glasses for reading or watching the television can be difficult when you have dementia. Try labelling them and having different frames to make identifying them easer, this also supports others to help you. Always label the glasses rather than cases.
Consider is it easier to find dark chocolate in a brown box or a white box? Or is it easier to find white towels or blue towels in an all white bathroom?
Specialist gadgets are available to support your everyday activities, such as clear faced clocks and watches, easy to use remote controls for TVs, big button phones, talking labels to stick to things.
Here are some specialist services that can make things easier for you to do what you enjoy:
There are also a number of things that it can be useful for you or your family, friends, carers or health care professionals to know. Below you can find a document written by the Dementia and Sight loss interest group which will answer many of those questions. It covers the above tips in more detail, and includes information on the link between dementia and sight loss, hallucinations, and more.
The Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group was set up in 2008 as part of Vision 2020 UK, to develop and promote better understanding of the issues facing people affected by dementia and sight loss. It is also there to develop and disseminate materials resources and tools that contribute to good practice. The group consists of Alzheimer's Society, Thomas Pocklington, RNIB, ARUP and the Macular Disease Society.
The Vision 2020 UK website contains information to support the growing number of organisations and individuals with an interest in concurrent dementia and sight loss and creates a community of practice meeting place. To become part of the network go to the Vision 2020 UK Interest/work groups and committees page and create a log in and you can sign up to the Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group.
RNIB's work on dementia and sight loss has been supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.Contact Us