19 June 2019
Poor balance can be caused by reduced central and/or peripheral vision or eye movement disorders. Poor central and/or peripheral vision and reduced depth perception can lead to trips over obstacles or on stairs.
A number of factors contribute to the risk of falls caused by poor vision among older people.
Unfortunately, visual impairment that could be corrected by new glasses or cataract surgery is common in the older population of the UK and many patients attending A&E clinics for falls or hip fractures have correctable visual impairment and have typically not attended eye exams for several years. From an optometrist’s perspective, research shows that new glasses should be prescribed conservatively.
• There is variation within falls services in the frequency and method of vision checks
• A lack of resource and capacity within falls services is key to the variation
• Most falls teams would welcome support in performing eyesight checks
• Referral between falls teams and optometrists would help the patient pathway and foster clinical continuity
• The College of Optometrists is pursuing solutions to support both optometrists and falls teams in linking up services for the benefit of the patient.
Report attached below: