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Meng Ying Wang, Jacqueline Rousseau, Hélène Boisjoly, Heidi Schmaltz, Marie-Jeanne Kergoat, Solmaz Moghadaszadeh, Fawzia Djafari, Ellen E. Freeman; Activity Limitation due to a Fear of Falling in Older Adults with Eye Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(13):7967-7972. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10701.
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To examine whether patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, or Fuchs corneal dystrophy report limiting their activity due to a fear of falling as compared with a control group of older adults with good vision.
We recruited 345 patients (93 with AMD, 57 with Fuchs, 98 with glaucoma, and 97 controls) from the ophthalmology clinics of Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (Montreal, Canada) to participate in a cross-sectional study from September 2009 until July 2012. Control patients who had normal visual acuity and visual field were recruited from the same clinics. Participants were asked if they limited their activity due to a fear of falling. Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual field were measured and the medical record was reviewed.
Between 40% and 50% of patients with eye disease reported activity limitation due to a fear of falling compared with only 16% of controls with normal vision. After adjustment for age, sex, race, number of comorbidities, cognition, and lens opacity, the Fuchs groups was most likely to report activity limitation due to a fear of falling (odds ratio [OR] = 3.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33–7.06) followed by the glaucoma group (OR = 2.84; 95% CI, 1.36–5.96) and the AMD group (OR = 2.42; 95% CI, 1.09–5.35). Contrast sensitivity best explained these associations.
Activity limitation due to a fear of falling is very common in older adults with visually impairing eye disease. Although this compensatory strategy may protect against falls, it may also put people at risk for social isolation and disability.
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