Parkinson’s disease: Four early symptoms of the condition found in your eyes

Philip Tindall says he 'tried to ignore' his Parkinson's

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Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting over 10 million people worldwide. Your eyes and vision may hold clues pertaining to your risk to the condition.

Colour vision

Some people with the condition may have difficulty telling the difference between some colours, according to the Parkinson’s charity.

It adds: “This problem may be worse for shades of blue/green.

“Your colour vision may improve with Parkinson’s medication.”

Dry eyes

People with Parkinson’s may find they blink less often.

Blinking helps to clean the eyes by removing dust and dirt, so if you blink less often, these materials can build up, resulting in dry or sore eyes.

The charity notes: “Dry eyes can have other causes, so see your optometrist for advice. They may suggest you try artificial tears.”

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Double vision

Double vision is when a person sees two images of a single object either some or all of the time.

The two images may appear on top of one another or side by side – sometimes a mixture of both.

The charity says: “This is often caused by problems moving the eyes.”

It adds that some people with Parkinson’s experience ‘tracking’.

“This is when the eyes do not move smoothly across a line or from one object to another,” it explains, “for example moving across a page when reading, or up and down”.

Rhythmic eye fluttering

One study found that 85 percent of recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients displayed rhythmic eyelid fluttering upon closing their eyes.

Rhythmic eye fluttering is sometimes the earliest sign of a chronic movement disorder, especially if other facial spasms develop too.

Nystagmus is an involuntary rhythmic side-to-side, up and down or circular motion of the eyes that occurs with a variety of conditions, said John Hopkins Medicine.

A refractive error can be picked up by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

In order to diagnose an eye movement problem however, different types of evaluations need to be done that may not be performed at a routine visit with an ophthalmologist.

Therefore, if you are having visual problems and a trip to the ophthalmologist with a new lens prescription does not solve the problem, ask for a referral to a neuro-ophthalmologist.
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