Visual symptoms in lewy body disorders

Contact Person: Dr. Prabitha Urwyler

Visual symptoms are common in Lewy body disorders and they include visual complaints, visuo-perceptual impairment or visual hallucinations. Lewy body disorders include Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In these disorders most patients experience visual hallucinations during the course of the disease. The prevalence of visual hallucinations is 15-40 percent in PD, 30-90 percent in PDD, 60-90 percent in DLB. The risk factors most commonly associated with visual hallucinations in PD; PDD and DLB are cognitive impairment, visual impairment, sleep disorders, and medication. Visual symptoms are commonly underdiagnosed, because health professionals don’t ask and many patients do not volunteer to report them. If untreated, they contribute to patient and/or caregiver distress. In our research, we are studying and evaluating measures to quantify visual symptoms in clinical practice with a goal to develop possible treatment strategies.