The first time I realized something had really gone awry in my body, we were crossing the Connecticut River from New Hampshire to Vermont. Looking out on the horizon, there were two of everything. I was in the back seat at the time so said nothing and just wondered what that was all about.
But there was more, over time. I noticed that my depth perception was off; when braking, I left huge gaps between me and the car ahead. When my children were driving me, I’d tell them, “brake, brake, brake”, because they didn’t seem to be doing it early enough. We finally settled on an agreement. They would tell me, as they approached, that they saw the car ahead of them and were braking. That acknowledgement helped a lot. I also began to realize that from dusk on, I had a harder time distinguishing between objects. That’s when I became a daytime-only driver.
Support from my medical “team” was lacking. My ophthalmologist, when told him I had PD, assured me I had no worries. There is not impact on vision by PD., he said. My neurologist did confirm that Parkinson’s and its medications can cause double vision. He cut back on my Mirapax to see if that would help and then referred me to a “specialist” who did only tests that my regular ophthalmologist also performed. He did give me a prescription for prisms, which helped with the double vision somewhat but didn’t fully address the changes in my eyes,
A breakthrough moment for me was stumbling upon a blog post, reblogged on this site, by Dr. Maria DeLeon, a retired neurologist who also deals with her own PD, She so described my exact vision issues. I carried her article into my doctor’s office to show him since she explained so well the issue. The depth perception problem had been an issue for awhile,but had improved with the introduction on Sinamet but I had never been able to describe the challenge clearly. The next big moment was discovering from another Parky that there are neuro-opthamologists who can help. His doctor, whom he loved, doesn’t take my insurance so I did research and found one at a nearby teaching hospital. This doctor had such impressive credentials. He was a fully trained neurologist and a fully trained ophthalmologist so really knew what he was dealing with. I so recommend this if you have these issues! He did an overwhelming number of tests, most of which no doctor had ever done on my eyes.I discovered that I couldn’t perform many of his tasks. You may have seen books as a kid where you are looking at a page full of colored circles and you have to find the letter, word or picture of contrasting colors within. Nope, couldn’t do it.He diagnosed convergence insufficiency (reduced ability of the eyes to turn towards each other, or sustain convergence).and diplopia (also called double vision) along with presybyopia (inability to focus on nearby objects but distant ones ware blurred )and myopia, the inability to focus on distant objects . I left with a better prescription and more prisms for my glasses but my eyes continue to bother me. I return soon and hope to find out what else has changed.
Another source about eye and vision issues in Parkinson’s Disease can be found on the American Parkinson’s Disease Association website ‘
And Dr. Maria DeLeon’s blog page.entitled VISION is definitely worth a read.