July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
High Prevalence of Falls, Fear of Falling and Impaired Balance in Older Adults with Vision Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joshua R Ehrlich
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Alison Granger
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Katherine Bissen
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Shirin E Hassan
    Indiana University School of Optometry, Bloomington, Indiana, United States
  • Brian Craig Stagg
    Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Joshua Ehrlich, None; Alison Granger, None; Katherine Bissen, None; Shirin Hassan, None; Brian Stagg, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH grant K23EY027848, NIH grant P30AG012846
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 4462. doi:
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      Joshua R Ehrlich, Alison Granger, Katherine Bissen, Shirin E Hassan, Brian Craig Stagg; High Prevalence of Falls, Fear of Falling and Impaired Balance in Older Adults with Vision Impairment. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):4462.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Falls and fall-related outcomes are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality and result in large healthcare expenditures among older adults. The purpose of this study was to determine prevalence estimates of fall-related outcomes among older adults with vision impairment (VI) in the United States. Epidemiological data are important to inform the development of appropriate population health interventions.

Methods : We used data from the 2015 administration of the National Health and Aging Trends Study, a nationally-representative survey administered annually since 2011 to a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older in the United States. Participants were asked to self-report whether they: had difficulty seeing at near or distance, even with glasses; fell more than once in the prior year; had a fear of falling (FoF); limited their activity due to FoF; and/or had impaired balance. We calculated prevalence estimates of falls, FoF, activity restriction related to FoF, and impaired balance for participants with and without self-reported VI. All estimates were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, number of chronic medical conditions and proxy respondent. All analyses accounted for the complex design of the survey, including cross-sectional sample weights, sampling units, and strata.

Results : Falls were significantly more common among older adults with VI (21.5% [95%CI, 19.1-23.9.0%]) than those without VI (14.1% [95%CI, 13.5-14.6%]). Individuals with VI more frequently reported FoF (39.3% [95%CI, 36.3-42.2%]) and activity restriction related to FoF (17.7% [95%CI, 15.8-19.6%]) compared to those with no VI (27.8% [95%CI, 26.8-28.9%] and 9.9% [95%CI, 9.2-10.6%], respectively). Balance impairment was also reported by a significantly greater proportion of individuals with VI (45.1% [95%CI, 42.5-47.6%]) than without VI (30.0% [95%CI, 29.0-31.1%]). For all comparisons, p<0.001.

Conclusions : Fall-related outcomes were significantly more common in older adults with VI than in those without VI. Tailored public health interventions are needed to address correctable VI and to prevent falls in this high-risk population.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.

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