Patients With Parkinson Disease Report Higher Prevalence of Ophthalmologic Symptoms

close up of eye
close up of eye
Compared to the general population, patients with Parkinson disease report a higher prevalence of ophthalmologic symptoms.

Compared to the general population, patients with Parkinson disease (PD) report a higher prevalence of ophthalmologic symptoms, including double vision, visual hallucinations, watery eyes, and blurry vision. This is according to findings from a study published in Neurology.

In this study, researchers sought to systematically determine the prevalence of a wide range of ophthalmologic symptoms in patients with Parkinson disease, compared with controls, and to explore the effect of these ophthalmologic symptoms on daily life functioning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Using the Visual Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (VIPD-Q), investigators assessed the prevalence of ophthalmologic symptoms in patients with PD (n=848) vs healthy controls (n=250) who participated in a multicenter, observational study. In this 17-item questionnaire, the researchers addressed 4 domains of ophthalmologic disorders according to ocular structure, including those related to the ocular surface, intraocular, oculomotor, and optic nerve. Yes/no questions also assessed the impact of ophthalmologic disorders on daily activities, including watching television, reading, driving a car, using a computer, walking, hobbies, and personal care.

A significantly higher proportion of patients with PD reported visual changes during the day compared with healthy controls (38% vs 19%, respectively; P <.001). Approximately 82% (95% CI, 80–85) of patients with PD reported ≥1 ophthalmologic symptom compared to 48% (95% CI, 42–54) of healthy controls (P <.001). In addition, patients with PD reported significantly more ophthalmologic symptoms simultaneously, as demonstrated by the median VIPD-Q total score (10 vs 2, respectively; P <.001). A significantly higher proportion of patients with PD also reported that their ophthalmologic symptoms interfered with daily activities (68% [95% CI, 65–71] vs 35% [95% CI, 29–41]; P <.001).

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The sampling method used in this study may have led to selection bias and, in turn, limited the results of this study. Moreover, there was the potential for self-report bias for PD diagnosis, as well as the lack of prior validation of the VIPD-Q questionnaire, which may have further limited these findings.

Despite these limitations, the researchers suggested that the “VIPD-Q may help with identifying ophthalmologic symptoms in PD that might otherwise be missed, thereby enabling timely referral and treatment.”

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Borm CDJM, Visser F, Werkmann M, et al. Seeing ophthalmologic problems in Parkinson disease: results of a visual impairment questionnaire [published online March 11, 2020]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009214