Welcome back to the Griswold Blog. This week, we’re giving you the facts on falling for the elderly. This post is about impaired eyesight, which you may have guessed from the clue in the closing of our last post.
But first, here are some more quick facts to convey the gravity of fall prevention: Among those 60 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death. Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Common fall-related injuries, like lacerations, hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries, lower standard of living and increase risk of an earlier death.
We know those were some pretty dismal details, which is why awareness of the risk factors and preventative measures is crucial. So let’s look at the facts.
Age-related vision conditions, like cataracts and glaucoma, weaken depth perception, visual acuity and peripheral vision, while increasing sensitivity to glare. This degeneration of visual cues makes it much harder to not only get around, both inside and outside the home, but also to anticipate and self-correct an impending fall.
It’s crucial for your loved one to get regular checkups with the ophthalmologist. The only way to help detect glaucoma before irreversible damage occurs is to keep up with eye care! After age 60, comprehensive eye exams should happen every year.
Poor vision often comes with age regardless of glaucoma, so make sure that if your loved one uses eyeglasses, they’re kept clean and smudge-free. Consider implementing balance aids, like grab bars and handrails, with defining color contrasts to the home. Contrasting color strips can also be applied to steps to help with decreased depth perception.
While vision naturally declines with age, it doesn’t have to get in the way of your loved one’s independence.