Treatment For Parkinsons Disease
There is currently no cure for the disease itself, but there are options to treat the symptoms of PD. A combination of medications, physical and/or occupational therapy, support groups, and of course, top-quality vision care can give a PD patient relief for some of their symptoms and tools to help cope with the condition.
Research and clinical trials are continuing as doctors and others in the medical community work towards the goal of finding a cure for PD.
No two patients are alike, and each can experience PD differently from the other, so finding what works for you or your loved one is key. During this Parkinson’s Awareness Month, share your #KeyToPD and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.
Problems With Low Light And Pbright Light :
You might find that it is difficult to see in low light levels. You may also be unable to make out the shape of things clearly, such as a light-coloured object on a light background. This can also affect your ability to read small print. The use of daylight bulbs may provide better lighting. If bright light is a problem, wraparound sunglasses or tinted lenses can help.;
Optic Neuritis: An Inflamed Optic Nerve
Your optic nerve works like a sight highway. Signals move from the eye to the brain down this path, and its that movement that helps you to see clearly. Swelling in the optic nerve can slow or even block those messages.
Optic neuritis is closely related to multiple sclerosis . This condition causes nerves all around the body to swell, and say about a third of people with MS dont know they have the condition until they develop optic neuritis.
Its also been associated with risks such as:
- Infections. Lyme disease, syphilis, cat-scratch fever, and bacterial invasions can all cause the optic nerve to swell.
- Viruses. Herpes, mumps, and measles can cause optic neuritis.
- Medications. Some types of antibiotics and the drug quinine can cause swelling in the optic nerve.
Optic neuritis usually attacks one eye while leaving the other intact, says Mayo Clinic. You might notice:
- Vision loss. Some people develop a slight blurring or dimming of vision, while other people cant see anything at all. Some people retain clear central vision, but cant see anything to the side.
- Visual hallucinations. You may see flashing or flickering lights. Colors might seem dim or dull.
- Eye pain. You might develop a headache, and it can get worse when you move your eyes.
If you do have optic neuritis, treatment helps. Your doctor can use corticosteroids to reduce swelling in the nerve. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some people experience a full recovery with this medication.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.
To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.
If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.
Tips For Coping With Breathing Difficulties
- Work with your doctor to identify and treat any non-PD causes of shortness of breath, such as lung disease, heart disease or lack of physical conditioning and endurance.
- Exercise as much as possible. Shortness of breath may lead a person to move less. Less physical activity reduces the ability to take deep breaths. Staying active improves pulmonary function.
- Take steps to cope with anxiety. Talk with your doctor to figure out what sets off anxiety and find treatments and techniques that work for you.
- Speak to your doctor about getting an evaluation performed by a speech-language pathologist; who can help you address issues related to swallowing.
- Give up smoking.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
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What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
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My Parkinsons Story: Visual Disturbances
This 6-minute video alternates between an interview with a man and and doctors. The man shares his vision changes due to Parkinsons disease. The doctors explain that the muscles of the eyes develop a tremor in those with Parkinsons disease, causing blurry vision. Parkinsons medication reduces eye tremors by 75-90%, but eye exercises and reading are also beneficial.
Involuntary Eye Closure & Eyelid Drooping
Its not uncommon for seniors with Parkinsons disease to experience involuntary eye closure . Eyelids may also droop due to muscle weakness or nerve damage caused by the disease. Both of these issues can narrow the field of vision and contribute to difficulty with navigation and coordination. Vision problems of this nature also increase the risk of falling for seniors with PD. Under certain circumstances, Botox injections may be recommended to address issues with eyelid drooping.
If your loved one is living with vision problems and needs assistance with daily tasks, help is available. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care.Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Medication Side Effects & Vision Problems
Saccadic And Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements
Interested In Parkinsons Disease Research Sign Up For Our Forums And Join The Conversation
The study enrolled 20 patients who had been newly diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, and 20 age-matched healthy subjects, to assess changes in the visual system associated with the disease. The participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging scans, which researchers used to look at changes in the white and gray matters, as well as ophthalmologic examinations.
They found that patients presented significant changes in the brain structures associated with the visual system, such as changes in the optic radiations, decreased white matter volume and reduced volume of the optic chiasm .
As a consequence, patients experienced visual alterations, such as an inability to perceive colors, decreased visual acuity, and a reduction in blinking, which often led to dry eyes.
According to Arrigo, these changes may appear more than a decade before the motor symptoms associated with Parkinsons disease, which makes them potential biomarkers to diagnose and follow this disease.
The study in depth of visual symptoms may provide sensitive markers of Parkinsons disease, Arrigo said. Visual processing metrics may prove helpful in differentiating Parkinsonism disorders, following disease progression, and monitoring patient response to drug treatment.
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Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited
Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.
There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.
Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.
The Role Of Dopamine In The Eye
Note in the above, I emphasized dopamine and its shortage is important in the eye. For most PwP, this link between dopamine and vision will come as unexpected,;because,;while we are informed at diagnosis that our PD is due to dead dopamine producing cells in a small part of our brains called the Substantia Nigra, we are typically not being properly informed that the dopamine deficiency issues are much more widespread, ;including in the gut
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What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons Disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brains ability to control physical movement. It typically affects middle aged people and the elderly. Parkinsons causes a decrease in the brains natural levels of dopamine, which normally aids nerve cells in passing messages within the brain. According to The Parkinsons Foundation and Statistics Canada, the disorder affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, 55 000 Canadians, and 10 million globally.
Difficulty Reading & Other Pd
The quick eye movements that allow the eyes to shift to a new vision target can slow down as Parkinsons disease progresses. Should this happen, it can be difficult for seniors with PD to follow words on a page as they go from one line to the next while reading. Older adults with Parkinsons may also experience other vision problems involving: The ability to follow moving targets in a side-to-side direction Blinking to change eye positionLevodopa, the most common PD drug, may help The ability to see a target coming right at the eyes Difficulty voluntarily opening/closing eyes possible solutions include doing eyelid crunches or having Botox injections;
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care services. Rhode Island families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust your loved ones care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call; 284-0979 today.
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Smell And Vision Difficulties
Only two paragraphs about the loss of smell in Parkinsons precede nearly a dozen eye problems and vision difficulties for people with Parkinsons and useful tips for coping with them. ;Of note is a paragraph suggesting that those with glaucoma may have problems with anticholinergic medication and levodopa.
Difficulty Moving The Eyes Or Difficulty In Focusing On Moving Objects
The slowness or reduced movement associated with Parkinsons may affect how you move your eyes. You might notice this more when following a fast-moving object such as a vehicle or ball. Your eyes may move slowly and jerkily. You may also experience some difficulty in reading because the eyes are slower in jumping from the end of a line to the beginning of the next.
Difficulties moving the eyes up and down are more common in a condition called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a form of parkinsonism. If you experience this problem, your specialist or Parkinsons nurse if you have one, will be able to give advice.
Caution! If detecting or seeing movement is difficult, particularly estimating the speed of a moving object such as a car, great care should be taken when out and about, both when driving and walking.
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Why Loss Of Sense Of Smell Occurs
96% of newly diagnosed people with Parkinsons will have lost some ability to smell. Little is confirmed about what causes hyposmia, the loss of smell. One popular theory in Parkinsons research has to do with the protein alpha-synuclein, which is found in clumps in all people with Parkinsons in the part of the brain affected by Parkinsons. This region of the brain is also very close to the Olfactory Bulb, which is responsible for our sense of smell.;
Structural Eye Changes & Color Perception Issues
Parkinsons disease sometimes contributes to structural changes within the eye. It appears these changes are mostly limited to the retina, a thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye that converts light coming into the eye into nerve signals the brain uses to process visual information.If dopamine receptors in the retina are affected, one of the changes that could occur is a decrease in the ability to distinguish between different shades of color. Eye changes involving color perception sometimes contribute to vision-related disturbances that might include visual hallucinations.
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Breathing & Respiratory Difficulties
Some people with Parkinsons disease may experience shortness of breath. There is no clear cause underlying respiratory dysfunction in PD, its frequency or the effect that medications have on respiration. Several reasons for shortness of breath in PD include:
- Wearing off is a common experience among people with PD who have been taking levodopa for several years. These occur when the medication benefit wears off and PD symptoms return before the next dose.
- Respiratory dyskinesia refers to an occurrence of irregular and rapid breathing when levodopa medications reach their peak effect. These may accompanied by involuntary body movements, typically experienced as dyskinesia.
- Anxiety;is a common symptom of PD that may also exacerbate shortness of breath, whether by itself or as a consequence of wearing off;of the medication.
- Aspirationpneumonia is a pneumonia that develops after food or liquid goes down the wrong pipe. Advanced PD can increase the risk of swallowing difficulties, choking and aspiration pneumonia.
- Non-PD health issues include conditions such as asthma, allergies, lung disease, heart disease and other conditions that may cause shortness of breath.
Can There Be Any Complications Or Risks
Risks from Parkinsons disease and PSP may arise from your symptoms. If you are affected by any of the above symptoms, you may need to make adjustments to cope better. Symptoms may vary between patients so it may help to tell the Eye Care Team if you are having problems so they are able to suggest personalised solutions.
Having double vision can be very disorientating and can increase the risk of trips and falls so make use of handrails where possible. Some people may find benefit in a walking stick.
It is important to keep your eyes well lubricated to keep them healthy. If you are suffering from dry eyes, please ensure you follow your Ophthalmologists instructions with regards to eye drops.
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There Are Many Types Of Professionals Who Can Help
While there are no proven ways to prevent most ocular conditions from developing, routine visits with an eye care professional can lead to early recognition and treatment of eye issues before they harm your quality of life. Between you, your neurologist, and an ophthalmologist, most visual complaints can be handled. However, when symptoms remain unchanged and unexplained, consultation with a neuro-ophthalmologist;is probably warranted.;
A neuro-ophthalmologist is either a neurologist or an ophthalmologist with fellowship training in neuro-ophthalmology. Neuro-ophthalmologists have a unique appreciation for the intersection of the eyes and the brain and perform comprehensive testing in the office to determine where a visual or eye movement problem could originate. Once the location of the disturbance is identified, diagnostic testing , treatments, and therapies can be customized depending on the individual and their concerns.;
While your eye care professional may not be aware of common ocular symptoms that people living with Parkinsons experience, explaining the kinds of situations and triggers that bring on eye symptoms is usually enough for your physician to know where to look during the examination . Keeping a journal or diary of symptoms can also be helpful for both you and your physician.;;
Moving Through Eye Challenges
Reading about disorders like this isn’t easy, especially when many of them cause permanent damage. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to take on these challenges alone.
Opticians, ophthalmologists, and other eye experts are adept at both examining eyes and developing treatments for deficits. A visit to an expert like this could result in solutions you would never have thought of on your own.
And a relationship with an eye doctor could help you to prevent some of these issues from ever developing, so you can preserve your vision throughout your life.
If you don’t have an expert on your side now, it’s time to start searching.
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