Visual signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common disorder of middle-aged and elderly people, in which there is degeneration of the extra-pyramidal motor system. In some patients, the disease is associated with a range of visual signs and symptoms, including defects in visual acuity, colour vision, the blink reflex, pupil reactivity, saccadic and smooth pursuit movements and visual evoked potentials. In addition, there may be psychophysical changes, disturbances of complex visual functions such as visuospatial orientation and facial recognition, and chronic visual hallucinations. Some of the treatments associated with PD may have adverse ocular reactions. If visual problems are present, they can have an important effect on overall motor function, and quality of life of patients can be improved by accurate diagnosis and correction of such defects. Moreover, visual testing is useful in separating PD from other movement disorders with visual symptoms, such as dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Although not central to PD, visual signs and symptoms can be an important though obscure aspect of the disease and should not be overlooked.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-38
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • adverse ocular reactions
  • differential diagnosis
  • dopamine pathways
  • Parkinsons's disease
  • visual signs
  • visual symptoms


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