Vision Health

Guarding Against Vision-Related Falls

Editor’s note: More than one in three people over 65 fall each year. Researchers have found that falls can lead to serious consequences including physical incapacity and loss of independence. Falls may be due to loss of balance, but vision troubles are also a factor. Here, from the experts at the SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health, are some things you can do to prevent vision-related falls:

Have Your Vision Checked By An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist

Do this regularly, but don’t wait till your usual appointment time if you think your eyesight has changed. The eye doctor or optometrist can give you tips about the best lighting for you and how to use multi-focals when you walk or use the stairs.

If you are age 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. If you are at increased risk for or have any age-related eye disease, you may need to see your eye care professional more often. Learn more about comprehensive dilated eye exams.

Wear Your Eyeglasses Correctly

Wear your eyeglasses so you can see your surroundings clearly. Keep them clean and check to see that the frames are straight. When you get new glasses, be extra cautious while you are getting used to them.

Have Sufficient Lighting in Your Home

In your home, make sure you have enough lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor  walkways

Use light bulbs with the highest wattage recommended for the fixture

Have good lighting on stairways, including light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs

Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed

Use night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen

Keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power is out and you need to get up.

Material courtesy of the SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health. For more information on senior health issues, click here.

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