As we age it is common for our visual function to decrease, which can be associated with an increased risk of falling. Older adults with vision impairment are twice as likely to fall than older adults without vision loss.
A decreased visual function, particularly impaired clarity of vision, sensitivity with glare and contrasting colours, depth perception, and visual field size, can increase an individual’s falls risk. Impaired visual function can affect an individual’s pattern of walking, postural stability, balance control, and fear of falling, which in turn increases the risk of experiencing a fall. Additionally, multifocal glasses can increase an individual’s risk of having a fall due to diminished contrast sensitivity and depth perception.
How can I assist older adults to ensure they check their eyesight?
Questions to ask when talking to older adults about their eyesight:
- Have you had your eyesight checked within the previous two years?
- Have you noticed any changes in your vision lately?
- Are you having trouble judging how far things are away? Do you find yourself missing the shelf when placing items on shelves?
- Are your glasses clean? Scratched? Working and appropriate for the activities you are undertaking?
- Is the lighting of your house and surroundings adequate?
To search for Optometrists in an older adult’s local area click here. You can also find Optometrists who provide home visits.
If you are interested in demonstrating the effect that common eye conditions may have on someone’s daily tasks, Vision Australia can provide free educational resources such as eye masks which can simulate these conditions.