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Parkinson’s study highlights importance of regular eye tests

Vision and eye problems, such as blurriness, dryness and trouble with depth perception, is more common in people with Parkinson’s disease than those without the condition, a major study has revealed.

The report, published by Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, highlights the additional risk of falls and injury in people with the disease, who already suffer from severe mobility problems.

According to the research, more than 840 people with Parkinson’s and 250 people without the condition were studied over a seven-year period. Both groups had an average age of 70.

Each of the participants was periodically asked to complete a questionnaire about vision and eye problems. For each question, the participant was scored from zero to four, with zero indicating no vision problems and four indicating severe problems.

It was found that more than eight in 10 (82 per cent) of participants with Parkinson’s disease scored highly on one or more eye problem compared to just 48 per cent of people without the disease.

Meanwhile, the average score on the questionnaire among those with the condition was 10, while healthy participants scored an average of two.

Commenting on the findings, study author Carlijn Borm said: “It is especially important for people with Parkinson’s to have the best vision possible because it can help compensate for movement problems caused by the disease, and help reduce the risk of falls.

“Our study found not only that people with Parkinson’s disease had eye problems that go beyond the aging process, we also found those problems may interfere with their daily lives. Yet a majority of eye problems are treatable, so it’s important that people with Parkinson’s be screened and treated if possible.”

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