236508 Optometrists Role in Helping Patients with Alzheimer's Disease

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 11:06 AM

Uzma Zumbrink, DHSc, MPH , Clinical & Practice Advancement Group, American Optometric Association, St. Louis, MO
Timothy A. Wingert, OD , College of Optometry, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Judith Gordon, PhD , Dept. Family & Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Basima Zumbrink , Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a multifaceted disease. The impacts of AD are alarming. Optometrists, as primary care clinicians, can play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Reports show that a simple eye test might be able to detect AD before symptoms develop. With a growing number of the aging population, a better understanding of the effects of AD is crucial. The Alzheimer's Association and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) have both initiated programs intended to promote public awareness of strategies to protect and improve cognitive abilities among older adults. Alzheimer's Disease is known to have an impact on eyesight, where 60% of sufferers have impaired vision. Studies show that neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, results in the death of retinal cells. Some research shows that that cells start to die 10 to 20 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer's become apparent, which could potentially allow people to be screened for AD in middle age. However, there is the fear of knowing one will have the disease in the future and also having insurance companies increase premiums for those who test positive at that earlier age. This presentation will focus on finding ways for optometrists to help Alzheimer's patients and increase their quality of life.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
This presentation analyzes that the optometrists can play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease.

Keywords: Aging, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as an Associate Director, Public Health at the American Optometric Association.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.