Prevention of falls in elderly with poor vision

Conclusion: Indications for effectiveness

Research into the effectiveness of interventions targeted at poor vision is scarce. But it provides indications that in older people, comprehensive vision and eye assessment, with appropriate treatment as a solitary measure , does not reduce the risk of falls and fractures. In frail older people it may even increase the risk of falls. New eyeglasses may cause problems in the adjustment phase and make frail elderly vulnerable for falls.
First eye cataract surgery improves visual function and lead to reduction of the rate of falling, and risk of fractures.

Recommendations (for research & practice)

Eye care professionals should be mindfull in considering changing eyeglass prescriptions for seniors. They should prescribe conservatively and give appropriate advice about the need of caution during adaptation.
Advice on home safety and environmental modification by an occupational therapist for a person with poor vision is effective in preventing falls.

Review Date: 18/04/2008
Version: 1.0
Status: Publish

Literature search (CSI catalogue; PUBMED; NHS EED; SafetyLit) was performed by the reviewer of CSI and later on by the documentalist of CSI. Results were compared and selected by two reviewers.
A recent review article was selected because of a relevant contribution to the subject.. The resulting evidence statements were subjected to expert review and if necessary adapted.

Background documents

Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community (version 1)
L.D. Gillespie, M.C. Robertson, W.J. Gillespie ... [et al.] (2009)

Falls and health status in elderly women following first eye cataract surgery : a randomised controlled trial (version 1)
R.H. Harwood, A.J. Foss, F. Osborn...[et al] (2005)

Improving vision to prevent falls in frail older people: a randomized trial. (version 1)
Robert G. Cumming, Rebecca Ivers, Lindy Clemson ...[] (2007)

Randomised controlled trial of prevention of falls in people aged >=75 with severe visual impairment : the VIP trial (version 1)
A. John Campbell, M. Clare Robertson, Steven J. La Grow ... [et al.] (2005)