Glaucoma Causes Higher Risk of Falls Among Older Adults
BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia, November 2011 — Glaucoma can affect a person's downward field of view, and this seems to be causing a higher risk of falls resulting in injury among older people with the eye disease.
During a year-long study of 71 glaucoma patients with an average age of 74, about 44 percent fell at least once, with 31 percent of the falls resulting in injury. (Fortunately, none of the injuries were severe.)
Those with less visual function were more likely to fall, and those with extensive visual loss toward the feet (called inferior visual field loss) had a 57 percent higher risk of falls overall and an 80 percent higher risk of falls with injury.
The researchers concluded that doctors could identify these high-risk groups with an inferior visual field loss assessment and then help them take fall-prevention measures. A report of the study appeared in the November issue of Optometry and Vision Science.