In recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day today, Prevent Blindness Ohio encourages everyone to consider the risk that poor vision poses in contributing to falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older. Falls largely are preventable. Only 14 percent of Ohioans are age 65 or older, yet this group accounts for more than 80 percent of fatal falls.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that fatal fall rates among these older Ohioans increased more than 160 percent from 2000 to 2011.
Unfortunately, those with impaired vision are more likely to experience falls and injuries. Visual impairment, which can include decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and/or visual field, has been found to influence the risk of falls.
Vision impairment can affect balance. It also increases the risk of tripping or misjudging steps, stairs, or curbs.
Because people with vision impairments are more than twice as likely to fall as those without, keeping a regular schedule of eye examinations with an eye care professional can help avoid debilitating falls.
We hope that by alerting the public to the dangers of falls, as well as educating them on ways to avoid them, we can help prevent unnecessary injuries.
Director Prevent Blindness Ohio Northwest Ohio Chapter Jefferson Avenue
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