A study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology has found that people with vision loss from glaucoma are at a higher risk of falling than those with better vision.
The world-first study found 40 per cent of the 70 older adults with glaucoma who took part in the year-long study had a fall. 20 per cent experienced multiple falls over that period.
Dr. Alex Black from QUT’s Faculty of Health said the key finding of his study was that the strongest risk factor for falls among glaucoma sufferers was more extensive loss in their lower peripheral vision.
“This is significant because it means we can now turn our attention to finding ways to help prevent these patients from having falls,” he said.
Stairs and steps should be well-lit and outlined with contrasting tape or paint so they can be easily seen
Dr. Black said a range of measures can help reduce the likelihood of falls including modifying environmental factors and promoting behavioural change.
“This involves things like exercising in good sunlight rather than at dawn or dusk and taking time when doing highly active activities such as bushwalking.
“Stairs and steps should be well-lit and outlined with contrasting tape or paint so they can be easily seen and people are best to take time to allow their eyes to adjust when walking from light to dark areas and vice-versa.
“Activities that maintain and promote balance and strength such as Tai Chi are also advised.”