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Mom is going on 87 and has AMD. She is having difficulty recognizing people in photos. Is this due to inability to see clearly, memory issues or some other reason? Or could it be a combination?
I recently sent her a photo of myself, my son and my husband. She insists my husband is "some girl" (I haven't told him this!) and keeps asking who that is. I also sent her a photo of my dad/her husband from the early 90s because she said she couldn't remember what he looked like (he died in 2011). I sent this particular photo because it is a 5x7 head shot, a studio portrait and very nice; also, he looked similar to that photo until the last year of two of his life. She didn't recognize him and asked me who is in the picture. So I'm wondering if she is having trouble seeing or if there is some other possibly age related reason she can't tell who is who. She is otherwise quite well mentally.

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Mom became very good at identifying people by the way they walked and their voices but I don't think she ever clearly saw and could recognize faces, I think she could actually see photos better that real life faces because she could move the image in order to find the optimal spot in her available field of vision.

And I've always been dissatisfied of all those pictures and videos that supposedly show sighted people what AMD is like, mom gradually lost colours as well as central vision and also often wore amber sunglasses because she found bright lights painful, so that would have added another layer of distortion to her vision.
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Reply to cwillie
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Macular degeneration robs you of your central vision, so the one thing your mom can't see is a face. You can hold the picture off to the side for her peripheral vision, but if you try to look at someone in your peripheral vision, you can see the shape and the colors, but not the details. That's all she can see. Combine that with her comments that your husband is a girl (likely dementia), and she's not going to be able to process any faces now.

We got my mother a Merlin reader, and she was able to read much longer than we thought she could. https://www.enhancedvision.com/low-vision-product-line/merlin-lcd-desktop-video-magnifier.html However, she couldn't follow story lines due to the dementia, and eventually the reader was used only for looking at one comic strip in the daily paper. Before long, the reading machine was no longer used, but it was her security blanket, so we kept it in her room to the end.

Always have people identify themselves when they come into a room. Also, be sure not to touch her without letting her know you're there. My mother would get terribly startled, because she couldn't see anyone right in front of her. I wish her dementia hadn't robbed her of her ability to describe how she saw things, but it did so we had to guess the last couple of years.

Macular degeneration is a terrible, terrible thing. When she was first suffering from it, my mother once said that she watched my dad walk away from her down the driveway, and at about 20 yards away his entire lower half just disappeared. The way he vision was impacted was just awful. She was a librarian and an artist before she lost her sight, and I truly believe that the isolation that came from being virtually blind as well as nearly deaf hastened her decline from dementia.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Has she been screened for dementia by her physician? Age is certainly a risk factor for both AMD and dementia. Not being able to focus and have sharp eyesight is certainly an AMD symptom, but I wouldn't think not remembering her own husband would be, assuming that the images she's seeing are clear enough to her that she should be able to tell who it is.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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emanes Oct 22, 2021
Yes, and I was told she doesn't have it. It's odd to me that she recognizes both my son and myself in the one picture, but not my husband. And then she doesn't recognize her own husband in another.
She asked me yesterday to send more pictures, including ones with her and her husband together, saying that might help her remember him. So even she realizes it's strange that she doesn't recognize people in photos.
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Partly I suppose because you already know what you're seeing, and because the eye is travelling. When you read, you don't consciously pick out the words letter by letter, you move along in whatever direction your particular written language takes you. I guess, anyway - you'd need an educational psychologist to explain the process properly!
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Reply to Countrymouse
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAgZHqr8Ml0

Try this. It helps to make it less of puzzle that she doesn't recognise people in photos, even when you've told her who they are.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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emanes Oct 21, 2021
Interesting...
She has glasses and a full page magnifier, and with those aids, she is able to read large-print books. I wonder how that is even possible, however, after seeing this video.
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It’s probably her brain rather than her eyes,but they aren’t helping.
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Reply to vegaslady
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