Regular screenings for visual problems, such as cataracts, are important for everyone, including people with Alzheimer's disease. If your loved one has the disease and a screening has detected cataracts, it is important that he or she receive treatment. Before agreeing to surgery, here is what you need to know.
Why Should Your Loved One Have Surgery?
Even if your loved one is opposed to surgery, it is important that he or she undergo treatment. Cataract surgery not only helps to improve visual problems, but it has been show to have a number of benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease.
Participants in one study who were treated for cataracts saw an improvement in cognitive reasoning, mood, and sleep. As a result, your loved one can experience fewer outbursts and behavioral problems.
What Can You Do?
If you are one of the caregivers for your loved one, following the surgery, you will need to help him or her until recovery has occurred. Recovery can take up to a month in some instances.
Following the surgery, your loved one will need to be driven home. Even if he or she still drives at this point, the anesthesia will impair your loved one's judgment. Once home, your loved one will most likely be tired from the experience.
While caring for your loved one, you need to be aware of the side effects. If any problems occur outside of the usual side effects or they last longer than a few days, you need to contact your loved one's eye doctor immediately. Common side effects include light sensitivity, itching, and discomfort.
As part of recovery, your loved one will need to take eye drops. The eye drops are designed to help reduce the risk of infection and to help promote recovery. If your loved one resists taking the eye drops, talk to his or her eye doctor about alternative methods of treatment.
It is possible that your loved one's old glasses do not offer the clarity they did prior to the surgery. If this occurs, you need to contact the eye doctor to schedule a follow-up appointment so that he or she can be re-examined and fitted with new eyeglasses, if necessary.
Consult with your loved one's eye doctor to determine if there are other instructions you should follow in helping with recovery. You can also discuss alternative methods of treatment and what you can expect in the future for your loved one's vision.