National Fall Prevention Week

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Join Hands with Vision Forward this National Fall Prevention Week

Impaired vision, low vision, and other similar symptoms are just a few factors that contribute to the risk of falls. Altogether, vision problems are one of the biggest reasons of fall injuries.

As we age, we may experience certain changes to our vision, such as a decrease in our visual acuity, an increase in our sensitivity to glare and sunlight, a decrease in our sensitivity to contrast, and difficulty adjusting to changes in light. These changes can make it difficult to see where we are going and put us at the risk of falling.

We may also experience eye diseases that can increase our risk of falls, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy – which can create blind spots, limit our visual fields or make things look blurry overall.

As per the report – Guidelines for Optometrists to Help Prevent Falls in Older Adults, some predictable risk factors are increasing age, being female, gait or imbalance impairment, chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, or arthritis, being on multiple medications, sedative usage, and having any kind of vision impairment.

The report also lists some external or exterior factors such as poor lighting, trip hazards like rugs, inappropriate footwear, stairs without handrails, uneven floors, and poorly designed bathrooms.

Falls due to vision loss can be avoided by taking a few precautions like:

Always consult your doctor if you have experienced any of the above symptoms since your last checkup, even if you haven’t fallen. Mild to medium symptoms of falls can alert your doctor to a new medical problem with your medications or eyesight that needs immediate attention.

If you experience an eye disease, consider a low vision evaluation at Vision Forward’s Low Vision Services to learn ways to maximize your vision and limit your fall risk through glare reduction and contrast enhancement strategies, lighting recommendations, optical solutions, and more.

Helpful Resources

The Center for Disease Control recommends an annual, dilated eye exam to reduce the risk of irreversible vision loss and make sure eyeglasses are updated as needed. Visit the CDC’s guidelines for maintaining healthy eyes for more information.

Learn more about preventing falls at the CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents Deaths & Injuries web page.

The Milwaukee County Falls Prevention Coalition (MCFPC) addresses the adult community’s risk of falling by providing access to comprehensive programs and targeted interventions. The coalition creates links between community programs and services to enhance collaborative efforts.

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