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HomeminewsEyesight Adjustment Failure Linked to Falls

Eyesight Adjustment Failure Linked to Falls

Fall-prone older adults rely too much on visual cues, and fail to adjust their actions to diminished eyesight, a new report has found.

Falls are a common problem among older adults, with about one-third of people over the age of 65 falling at least once a year.

Researchers tested three groups – older adults who had fallen in the past 12 months, older adults who had not fallen, and younger adults – on a walking course, then asked them to navigate the same course wearing a mask that blurred their vision.

Blurred vision took its toll on the performance of all three groups, but especially the fall-prone older adults. When the vision of the other two groups was reduced, they reduced their walking speed, to compensate for the impairment.

The fall-prone group did not, with researchers concluding they relied too heavily on visual information for spatial cognition, and did not adjust their behaviour to compensate for reduced vision.

The results of the experiments were published in the journal, Insight: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness.