Alzheimer’s disease symptoms: Visual clue can predict dementia, experts say


Experts have explained that one visual symptom can help predict Alzheimer’s disease. A team led by UC San Francisco has identified several visual symptoms linked with Alzheimer’s, but one is particularly common.

The first signs of dementia could be spotted in the eyes, even before memory loss begins. Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), also known as Benson’s syndrome, often signals the onset of Alzheimer’s and can be diagnosed by an eye doctor if they know what to look for.

The average age for PCA to start is 59, which is younger than when memory symptoms usually appear. 

READ MORE: Neuroscientist shares three early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Marianne Chapleau from UCSF’s Department of Neurology emphasised the need for better diagnostic tools for PCA.

“Most patients see their optometrist when they start experiencing visual symptoms and may be referred to an ophthalmologist who may also fail to recognize PCA,” she said.

“We need better tools in clinical settings to identify these patients early on and get them treatment.”

Patients usually first visit a doctor 3.8 years after symptom onset, by which time mild or moderate dementia is often apparent.

At diagnosis, many patients showed signs of “constructional dyspraxia, space perception deficit, and simultanagnosia.” Additionally, nearly half struggled with basic math calculations and reading.

Despite normal eye exams, the disorder remains underdiagnosed, which is why people are being urged to educate themselves about it in an attempt to increase awareness.



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