Vision Changes In Parkinson’s Disease

Some people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) notice that as the disease progresses their vision loses sharpness or becomes blurred, and they have trouble with dry eyes. Difficulties related to the eyes and vision often progress alongside other PD symptoms.

If you have PD, consider adding a neuro-opthalmologist to your medical care team. This is a specialist, either an opthalmologist or a neurologist, who has additional training in diagnosing and treating problems with the eyes and with a vision that are associated with PD and other neurological diseases.

Visual motor symptoms

Some vision difficulties are related to changes in the movement of the eyeball.  These are motor symptoms, similar to other motor symptoms caused by the loss of dopamine neurons.

Blurred or double vision, and eye strain, because the eyes may have trouble moving together to focus on things traveling toward or away from a person
Trouble reading, because the eye movements needed to follow the lines of a page are slowed and have trouble starting (similar to gait freezing in the legs)
A person with PD may need to blink in order to change eye position;  levodopa can help
Trouble opening the eyes voluntarily, known as apraxia (treated with “lid crutches” or lid tape)
Eyelid spasms, called blepharospasm, and excessive blinking

Dry eyes;  people with PD may blink only 1-2 times per minute (normal is 16-18 times), leading to itching and burning
Skin irritation on the eyelid; known as seborrheic blepharitis, this can worsen dry-eye symptoms
Changes in perception

More Info about Parkinson & Vision:


Good visual skills are necessary for efficient information processing. When processing visual information is difficult, one may “try harder,” straining without even knowing it because the effort is subconscious. If the visual system is inefficient, every task can seem difficult, using more energy than required. Visual skills affected by Traumatic Brain Injury include:

  • Tracking:  the ability of the eye to move smoothly across a printed page or while following a moving object.
  • Fixation: quickly and accurately locating and inspecting a series of stationary objects, such as words while reading.
  • Focus Change: looking quickly from far to near and back without blur.
  • Depth perception: judging relative distances of objects – how far or near they are.
  • Peripheral vision: monitoring and interpreting what is happening in the surrounding field of vision
  • Binocularity: using both eyes together as a team – smoothly, equally, and accurately.
  • Maintaining attention: keeping focused on a particular activity while interference, such as noise, is present.
  • Visualization: accurately picturing images in the “mind’s eye,” eye retaining and storing them for future recall.
  • Near vision acuity: clearly, seeing, inspecting, identifying, and understanding objects viewed within arm’s length.
  • Distance acuity: clearly seeing, inspecting, identifying, and understanding objects viewed at a distance.
  • Vision perception: understanding what is seen.

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