Those of us within the age 40+ demographic know how it feels to begin to struggle with small print, finding the need to begin wearing reading glasses, increasing the font size on our electronic devices, or holding books at arm’s length to try to eliminate blurring. Growing older and becoming challenged with vision changes often go hand in hand, but a problem that’s lesser known for older adults is the increased potential for eye injury.
This July, during Eye Injury Prevention Month, it’s a perfect time to take a closer look at this issue and take preventative steps. It might surprise you to learn that hospitalizations due to eye trauma in individuals over age 65 are more and more common from an unexpected source: falls. In fact, a current study estimates that older adults 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 seniors happen where they should be safest: right at home.
And, it is a vicious cycle. Older adults are more susceptible to a range of vision complications including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which could lead to a heightened risk of falls – which then leads to an increased risk of eye injury.
Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist, details, nonetheless, these types of conditions are quite often preventable or treatable, which makes it very important for loved ones to have an annual senior eye checkup.
Additional fall prevention steps suggested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include:
- First and foremost, tell the physician about any falls or feelings of unsteadiness, which might be connected with medication side effects or other health conditions.
- 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.
- Properly install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower.
- Place non-slip mats in and beside the shower.
- Be sure there is sufficient lighting throughout the home.
Partnering with a professional home care agency is also a great way to keep seniors safe from falls and other injuries. Morning Glory Home Care, providers of top-rated elder care in Edwardsville, IL and surrounding areas, can provide an in-home safety evaluation to check for any fall dangers and make recommendations for modifications to ensure the safest possible environment. Our caregivers are highly trained and experienced in providing necessary support for older adults to further help with fall prevention, and can transport and accompany older adults to medical appointments and procedures including eye exams, pick up prescriptions and provide medication reminders so they are taken exactly as they should be, and more.