Special eye tests could identify dementia patients with highest risk of falling

Depth perception tests tailored to the needs of those with memory loss could help to prevent injuries from falls

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Careful demonstration of depth perception tasks as part of the sight test could help to identify dementia patients at risk of falling, according to new UK research.

The study has highlighted that when clinicians carefully illustrated what participants needed to do in the depth perception examination, even those with the lowest memory test scores were able to take part.

Study author and orthoptist at the University of Surrey, Dr Marianne Coleman, highlighted that those who struggle to judge distances are at an increased risk of falling.

“This research emphasises the importance of routine sight tests for people with dementia and the need to include a suitable test of the ability to judge distances,” she shared.

“Having good eyesight reduces your risk of falling and the right eye tests, the right spectacles, a dementia-friendly testing technique and adequate appointment lengths can all help to ensure people living with dementia can see as well as possible,” Dr Coleman emphasised.

The research was jointly funded through a one-year Primer Fellowship Award from Fight for Sight and the Royal Society of Medicine.