Vision Impairment in Older Adults: How to Reduce the Risk of Falls

Vision Impairment in Older Adults: How to Reduce the Risk of Falls

One of the most common causes of injury for older adults is falling due to visual impairment. Many seniors struggle with their vision, making it difficult for them to navigate their living spaces. In skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, special precautions are taken to reduce fall risk in seniors with vision impairments. Read on to learn more about how older adults can avoid sight-related falls.

Preventing Falls in an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

To reduce the risk of falls and serious injury for older adults with visual impairment, the following are four tips that seniors and their caretakers should follow.

Wear Appropriate Eyewear

Seniors who struggle with visual impairment often have issues with depth perception, peripheral vision, and other visual difficulties. These impairments can make navigating even familiar spaces hard. When you cannot see objects on the ground, barriers like walls or counters, and other potential obstacles, you are more likely to suffer from falls.

When struggling with visual impairment, the appropriate eyewear can make a world of difference. Older adults who have difficulty seeing should wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that can improve their vision. With this improvement in their sight, most seniors can avoid falls caused by visual impairment.

Make Use of Mobility Aids

One of the best ways to reduce falls in older adults is to use mobility aids. Some seniors may be apprehensive about using mobility aids, as they feel it can infringe on their independence. The reality is that mobility aids are an incredibly useful tool that helps older adults maintain their independence by allowing them to move around in the world without assistance.

Mobility aids like canes and walkers provide added stability to older adults who are at risk of falling. These things can help seniors who struggle with visual impairment by providing them with increased stability and guidance when navigating their space. Canes may be used to detect changes in the level of the walking space, such as steps or holes. Walkers can act as a barrier that indicates objects or barriers on the ground that could trip someone with visual impairment.

Get Regular Eye Exams 

While poor vision is common with age, there are certain visual issues that can be resolved if caught early on. Many visual impairments can be treated or avoided with regular eye exams. Older adults should have their eyes examined at least once a year to check for eye conditions commonly found in seniors. This includes the following and more:

  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Retinopathy
  • Dry eye
  • Presbyopia

Regular eye exams can diagnose some of these visual problems early enough to resolve them or slow progression. Maintaining healthy vision can help seniors avoid sight-related falls. For this reason, residents in an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, should have annual eye exams.

Remove Excess Clutter

A common cause of falls, especially for those with vision impairment, is excess clutter throughout the living space. When there is too much clutter around a home, there are more things for older adults to walk into or trip over. Seniors with poor sight are more likely to trip and fall over objects in their homes, particularly in smaller spaces. 

In order to reduce the risk of falls, older adults with visual impairment should have clean, tidy living spaces. Rooms should be free of clutter and unnecessary objects that can be fallen over. Furniture should be situated around the edges of rooms, allowing for open walking space. Reducing clutter and creating a living space that is easy to navigate will help reduce potential falls.

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