Those of us in the age 40+ demographic know how it feels to start to struggle with fine print, finding the need to start wearing reading glasses, increasing the font size on our electronic devices, or holding books at arm’s length to try and minimize blurring. Growing older and becoming challenged with vision changes frequently go together, yet a problem that is lesser known for older adults is the increased possibility of eye injury.
During Eye Injury Prevention Month this July, it is an ideal time to take a closer look at taking preventative steps. It might surprise you to learn that hospitalizations because of eye trauma in individuals over age 65 are increasingly common from an unexpected source: falls. In fact, a current study estimates that seniors who had fallen accounted for 82% of the 18% rise in eye injury hospitalizations during the period 2001 – 2014. Not just that, but approximately half of all eye injuries in older adults happen where they should be safest: right at home.
And, it’s a vicious cycle. Seniors are more prone to a plethora of vision complications such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which can lead to an increased risk of falls – which then brings about an increased risk of eye injury.
Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist, explains, nonetheless, that these conditions are usually preventable or treatable, which makes senior eye care and routine eye exams very important.
Further fall prevention steps suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include:
- First and foremost, tell the doctor about any falls or feelings of unsteadiness, which may be connected with medication side effects or other health concerns.
- Wear properly fitting, comfortable shoes.
- Stay physically active, especially with balance and strength exercises.
- Assess the home and remove any clutter, cords, throw rugs, etc. from walking paths.
- Securely install grab bars beside the toilet as well as in the shower.
- Place non-slip mats in and next to the tub.
- Be certain that there is adequate lighting through the entire home.
A great way to help keep older adults safe from falls and other injuries is to partner with a professional home care agency. Anthem Home Care provides an in-home safety evaluation to check for any fall dangers and then can make suggestions for modifications to ensure the safest possible environment. Our caregivers are trained and experienced in providing necessary support for the elderly to further assist in fall prevention, and can transport and accompany seniors to medical appointments and procedures including eye exams, pick up prescriptions, and provide medication reminders so they’re taken exactly as they should be, and so much more.