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J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;68(3):1039-1049. doi: 10.3233/JAD-181129.

Screening for Vision Impairments in Individuals with Dementia Living in Long-Term Care: A Scoping Review.

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Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
École d'optométrie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Center for Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Research of Greater Montreal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Vision impairments are prevalent, but underdiagnosed in individuals with dementia living in long-term care (LTC). Effective screening tools could identify remediable vision problems. This scoping review was conducted to identify vision screening tests used with individuals with dementia and assesses their suitability for administration by nurses in LTC. A literature search using the Arksey and O'Malley (2005) method included research articles, conference proceedings, and dissertations. Data were included from participants over 65 years of age with a diagnosis of probable dementia. A panel of vision experts evaluated the suitability of the candidate vision tests. The search yielded 179 publications that met the inclusion criteria. Of 134 vision tests that were identified, 19 were deemed suitable for screening by nurses in LTC. Tests screened for acuity (12), visual field (1), anatomy (2), color vision (2), and general visual abilities (2). Tests were excluded because of complexity of interpretation (90), need for specialized training (83), use in research only (57), need for specialized equipment (54), not assessing visual function (44), long test duration (21), uncommonness (13), and needing an act reserved for specialists (7). Psychometric properties were not often reported for tests. Few of the tests identified had been validated for use with individuals with dementia. Based on our review, few tests were deemed suitable for use by nurses to assess this population in LTC. Identifying appropriate tools to screen vision in individuals with dementia is a necessary first step to interventions that could potentially improve functioning and quality of life.


Aging; cognition; decline; low vision; nursing; sensory


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