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Deficits in basic visual capacities are prevalent in Alzheimer's disease (AD), raising the question of their impact on cognitive function. We examined the relation between vision and cognition in 72 patients with AD. Vision tests assessed color discrimination, stereoacuity, contrast sensitivity, and backward pattern masking. For cognitive tests of object recognition, at least 25% (up to 50%) of score variance was predicted by performance on a vision test. For tests of spatial localization, only 2 to 11 % of the variance was predicted by performance on a vision test. The results indicated that: (1) visual dysfunction was a significant predictor of cognitive dysfunction in AD, and (2) visual deficits in AD may have a strong functional impact on performance in specific cognitive domains.

(C) 1995 American Academy of Optometry