What works: Falls and vision - Stay On Your Feet
|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.
- Ensuring eyeglasses are suitable
- Expedited cataract surgery
- Home safety modifications
- Identifying new visual problems
Who can help older people with their vision?
- Occupational therapist
- Vision assessment by an optometrist
- Snellen eye chart for testing visual acuity
- Melbourne Edge Test (MET) for testing contrast sensitivity
- Confrontation Visual Field Test
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
- National Eye Health Framework (2005)
- National Eye Health Awareness Campaign - encourages Australians aged over 40 years to get their eyes tested regularly. Early detection will improve eye health and reduce avoidable blindness, as 75% of eye conditions are preventable or treatable.
- Vision Australia
- Queensland Vision Initiative Inc (QVI) directory of low vision services (2009) - provides contact details for low vision services, peer support groups and community organisations in Brisbane. Details for regional, rural or remote services are available on the Queensland Vision Initiative website.
- Queensland Stay On Your Feet® image library - images related to vision 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