Around 270,000 falls in people over 60 are caused by poor vision each year. There are many reasons why an older person’s eyesight deteriorates but it is often just down to ageing. As we age the lenses in the eye become less elastic and this affects the ability to focus on near or far objects.
There are other conditions that cause vision to deteriorate as we get older and these include Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Cataracts, Diabetes, Retinal Detachment and Migraines. These conditions can make life more difficult and can lead to vision problems which, in turn, increase the likelihood of falls.
If you notice that your own eyesight, or that of a relative, neighbour or friend, is deteriorating then make sure you get an eye test asap. It is recommended you have an eye test regularly, especially after the age of 60, so your Optician can monitor your eyesight and pick up any eye problems at an early stage. Regular eye tests can also show up other medical conditions due to changes in the eyes. If you find it hard to get to your High Street Optician then give us a call on 0203 418 8488 or visit www.communitycareopticians.co.uk and we will visit you and carry out a comprehensive eye test in the comfort of your own home.
Poor vision increases the risk of falling as hazards may not be seen, especially if the peripheral vision has been affected. Stairs and outside steps can be particularly dangerous. If you, or a friend or relative, has vision loss you should attempt to reduce clutter in the home and keep everything in the same place. Familiarity is key to getting around the home without falling over. Trip hazards, such as rugs and door mats, should be removed and lots of space left between furniture so it’s easy to find your way around. You should also look out for power cables trailing across the floor. Contrasting hand rails can be added to stairs to make it easier.
Make sure eye glasses are kept clean and light levels in the home are optimised. Lights that are activated by clapping are really useful and mean you don’t have to keep getting up to adjust the lighting. Technology is constantly evolving and can be used to control much in the home and make life easier. Don’t store things you use regularly in high places as it is easy to fall from a step stool when you misjudge reaching for something.
Sight problems can affect every day life. It may be difficult to get around the home and carry out simple tasks such as cooking, washing, eating and dressing yourself. This will then have an impact on self-esteem and confidence and may lead to the person not wanting to go out and about any longer. This in turn will affect their social life and the ability to carry out necessary tasks like visit the supermarket to buy food.
If your vision has deteriorated badly then perhaps you should consider a care package where carers come and visit to assist you with everyday tasks and help you to look after yourself? You can ask your GP for help in organising this.
Falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for people over 65 and are the leading cause of death from injury among people over 75. Age UK reports that six people over the age of 65 experience a fall every minute!