Visual symptoms in Parkinson's disease

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common disorder of middle-aged and elderly people in which degeneration of the extrapyramidal motor system causes significant movement problems. In some patients, however, there are additional disturbances in sensory systems including loss of the sense of smell and auditory and/or visual problems. This article is a general overview of the visual problems likely to be encountered in PD. Changes in vision in PD may result from alterations in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, colour discrimination, pupil reactivity, eye movements, motion perception, visual field sensitivity and visual processing speeds. Slower visual processing speeds can also lead to a decline in visual perception especially for rapidly changing visual stimuli. In addition, there may be disturbances of visuo-spatial orientation, facial recognition problems, and chronic visual hallucinations. Some of the treatments used in PD may also have adverse ocular reactions. The pattern electroretinogram (PERG) is useful in evaluating retinal dopamine mechanisms and in monitoring dopamine therapies in PD. If visual problems are present, they can have an important effect on the quality of life of the patient, which can be improved by accurate diagnosis and where possible, correction of such defects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number908306
Pages (from-to)9 pages
Number of pages9
JournalParkinson's Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2011 R. A. Armstrong. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Parkinson's disease
  • degeneration
  • extrapyramidal motor system
  • movement problems
  • sensory systems
  • smell
  • auditory problems
  • visual problems
  • visual acuity
  • contrast sensitivity
  • colour discrimination
  • pupil reactivity
  • eye movements
  • motion perception
  • visual field sensitivity
  • visual processing speeds
  • visual perception especially
  • visual stimuli
  • visuospatial orientation
  • facial recognition problems
  • chronic visual hallucinations
  • treatments
  • adverse ocular reactions
  • pattern electroretinogram
  • PERG
  • retinal dopamine mechanisms
  • monitoring dopamine therapies


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