Primary eyecare provision for people living with dementia: what do we need to know?

Marianne E. F. Piano, Bao N Nguyen, Sena A Gocuk, Lynette Joubert, Allison M McKendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dementia comprises a group of brain disorders characterised by loss of cognitive function. Sensory loss, predominantly vision (the focus of this review) and hearing, is a significant problem for people living with dementia. Eyecare practitioners such as optometrists therefore play an important role in identifying and addressing vision-related care needs. To support provision of high quality "dementia-friendly" eyecare, this scoping review summarises recent primary research findings and available clinical practice guidelines, to identify research gaps relating to vision and dementia, and make recommendations for future research and clinical practice. The review set a priori guidelines for the population, concept and context based on the review questions. Primary research papers (2016-2021) were included via 3-step search strategy: preliminary search to index terms, full search, search reference lists of included articles for further inclusions. Additionally, websites of eyecare professional bodies in English-speaking countries were searched to identify current clinical eyecare practice guidelines relating to dementia. Study characteristics (e.g. country, study design) were reported descriptively. Patterns within findings/recommendations from included sources were identified using thematic analysis and reported as themes. 1651 titles/abstracts and 161 full-text articles were screened for eligibility. Three clinical practice guidelines were also identified. The final review included 21 sources: 18 primary research papers and 3 clinical practice guidelines. The thematic analysis reported five key themes: Diagnosis/Screening, dementia progression, findings on clinical visual testing, tailored approach to care, improving care. This scoping review demonstrated limited information about current practices of optometrists working with people living with dementia. Recent evidence reinforces the continuing need for improved eyecare for people living with dementia, taking into account their specific needs with an individualised approach. Up-to-date practical recommendations are synthesised for eyecare providers before, during and after a consultation with a person living with dementia, to better support their care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalClinical & experimental optometry : journal of the Australian Optometrical Association.
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


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