Those of us in the age 40+ demographic know how it feels to begin to struggle with small print, finding the need to start wearing reading glasses, increasing the font size on our electronic devices, or holding books at arm’s length in order to decrease blurring. Getting older and becoming challenged with vision changes often go hand in hand, but a problem that’s lesser known for seniors is the heightened potential for eye injury.
During Eye Injury Prevention Month this July, it is an ideal time to take a closer look at this issue and take preventative steps. It may surprise you to learn that hospitalizations due to eye trauma in individuals over age 65 are increasingly common from an unexpected source: falls. In fact, a recently available study estimates that older adults who had fallen accounted for 82% of the 18% boost in eye injury hospitalizations during the period 2001 – 2014. Not just that, but nearly 50% of all eye injuries in seniors occur where they should be safest: right at home.
And, it is a vicious cycle. Older adults are more prone to multiple vision complications which can include glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which could lead to an elevated risk of falls – which then brings about a greater risk of eye injury.
Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist, explains, however, that these types of conditions are often preventable or treatable, which makes it imperative to have an annual senior eye checkup.
Additional fall prevention steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include:
- Most importantly, tell the doctor about any falls or feelings of unsteadiness, which could be associated with medication side effects or other health issues.
- Wear properly fitting, comfortable shoes.
- Stay physically active, especially with balance and strength exercises.
- Assess the house and remove any clutter, cords, throw rugs, etc. from walking paths.
- Properly install grab bars beside the toilet as well as in the shower.
- Place non-slip mats in and next to the shower.
- Make sure 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. Live Free Home Health Care can provide an in-home safety assessment to check for any fall hazards and also make suggestions for adjustments to ensure the safest possible environment. Our caregivers are trained and knowledgeable in providing necessary support for older adults 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 just as they should be, and so much more.
To learn more about our Holderness home care and the communities we serve, email or give us a call at 603-217-0149! For a full list of all of the areas we serve in New Hampshire, please see our Service Area page.