Those of us within the age 40+ demographic know how it feels to start to have trouble 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 cut down on blurring. Getting older and becoming challenged with vision changes frequently go together, but a problem that is lesser known for senior loved ones is the increasing potential for eye injuries.
This July, during Eye Injury Prevention Month, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at this issue and take preventative steps. It may surprise you to find that hospitalizations due to eye trauma in people over age 65 are increasingly common from an unexpected source: falls. In fact, a recent study estimates that seniors who had fallen accounted for 82% of the 18% increase in eye injury hospitalizations during the period 2001 – 2014. In addition, nearly ½ of all eye injuries in seniors happen where they should be safest: right at home.
And, it is a vicious cycle. Older adults are far more susceptible to a plethora of vision complications such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, which could lead to an elevated risk of falls – which then leads to a greater risk of eye injury.
Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist, explains, however, that these conditions are in many cases preventable or treatable, making it imperative for all older adults to get annual eye exams.
Further fall prevention steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control include:
- First and foremost, tell the doctor about any falls or feelings of unsteadiness, which could be connected with medication side effects or other health issues.
- 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 beside the toilet as well as in the shower.
- Place non-slip mats in and next to the bathtub.
- Make sure that there is adequate lighting throughout the home.
A great way to help keep older adults safe from falls and other injuries is to partner with a provider of senior in-home care in Baltimore that has been trusted by local families since 2006. Absolute Companion Care can provide an in-home safety evaluation to check for any fall risks and also make strategies for adjustments to ensure the safest possible environment. Our caregivers are highly trained and experienced in providing necessary support for seniors 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 exactly as they should be, and a whole lot more.