Alzheimer’s disease and the eye

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is a major disorder causing visual problems in the elderly population. The pathology of AD includes the deposition in the brain of abnormal aggregates of ß-amyloid (Aß) in the form of senile plaques (SP) and abnormally phosphorylated tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). A variety of visual problems have been reported in patients with AD including loss of visual acuity (VA), colour vision and visual fields; changes in pupillary response to mydriatics, defects in fixation and in smooth and saccadic eye movements; changes in contrast sensitivity and in visual evoked potentials (VEP); and disturbances of complex visual functions such as reading, visuospatial function, and in the naming and identification of objects. Many of these changes are controversial with conflicting data in the literature and no ocular or visual feature can be regarded as particularly diagnostic of AD. In addition, some pathological changes have been observed to affect the eye, visual pathway, and visual cortex in AD. The optometrist has a role in helping a patient with AD, if it is believed that signs and symptoms of the disease are present, so as to optimize visual function and improve the quality of life. (J Optom 2009;2:103-111 ©2009 Spanish Council of Optometry)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Optometry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • dementia
  • ocular features
  • visual features
  • pathology
  • eye
  • visual cortex


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