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Lack of awareness of link between falls and poor vision in elderly

May 24 2013

The College of Optometrists is encouraging carers and people supporting older people to ensure that people who are at risk of falling are receiving regular eye examinations. It follows new research which found that there is a lack of awareness of the link between poor eyesight and falls in older people. 
 
Of the 1,000 adults surveyed by the College, nearly half said they had an older friend, parent or relative who had fallen, yet less than a third knew that poor vision was a major cause of falls. Moreover, almost half of those surveyed (46%) were unaware their parents could be entitled to an NHS sight test in their own home or care home, and 25% did not realise that sight tests for those aged over 60 years are free. 
 
“We are concerned that public awareness of the link between poor vision and falls is low,” said Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College. “Suffering a fall can have an extremely debilitating effect on the quality of an older person’s life and the lives of those around them. Being aware of changes in vision is particularly important for those older people at higher risk of falling, or who have fallen before.”
 
The research has been released in the run up to this year’s Falls Awareness Week which will be held on June 17-21. As part of the campaign, the College has published patient information about falls prevention and advice for maintaining good eye health with age, which can be downloaded at www.lookafteryoureyes.org
 
Tagged with: Optical Body, Research

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