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What works: Falls and vision - Stay On Your Feet

 Icon showing vision information Low vision, impaired vision, a change to vision or vision affected by medication can increase the risk of an older person falling. Vision impairment ranks sixth in the world's major causes of loss of wellbeing, and the prevalence of vision loss increases with age.

Why is vision a risk factor?

A 2007 study confirms anecdotal evidence from older people that changing eyeglasses could increase the risk of falls 132. This research highlights the falls prevention education role that optometrists can play when prescribing an older person with new glasses or changing their current prescription.
Cataracts are the most common cause of surgically remediable poor vision in older adults and have also been associated with increased risk of falls and fall related injury 71. First eye cataract surgery has been shown to have a 34% relative reduction in the risk of falling 134. The National Eye Health Framework identifies access to cataract surgery as a key action area 33.

What works

  • Ensuring eyeglasses are suitable
  • Expedited cataract surgery
  • Home safety modifications
  • Identifying new visual problems

Who can help older people with their vision?

  • Optometrists
  • Occupational therapist

Screening tools

Research on falls and vision

Research articles on falls and vision from the Queensland Stay On Your Feet® community good practice guidelines.

Resources related to visions and falls

To find out more about risk factors

For more in-depth information about falls risk factors, risk awareness, risk screening and assessment methods, refer to the Queensland Stay On Your Feet® Community Good Practice Guidelines

Last updated: 18 July 2012