PBA Stresses Importance of Eye Health in Support of National Falls Prevention Awareness Day

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CHICAGO— Prevent Blindness America (PBA), in conjunction with the Falls Free Coalition, reminds the public that Sept. 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Declared to raise public awareness of the dangers of falling for senior citizens, PBA stresses that paying attention to eye health can help eliminate injuries and hospital admissions due to falling.

According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the most common cause of injury and emergency care. This is especially problematic for older adults, with data showing that one in three Americans aged 65 and older fall each year, and are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every 15 seconds across the U.S.

Due to evidence that poor eyesight is a major factor in fall-related injuries, PBA encourages senior citizens to take steps to improve eye health, such as scheduling a comprehensive eye exam. A study supporting the importance of eyecare in prevention of falls and fall-related injuries from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that adults ages 80 to 84 experienced a 28 percent decrease in hip fractures due to improved vision from cataract surgery, and that patients who had severe cataracts removed had 23 percent fewer hip fractures than those who had not received the surgery. Those with impaired vision due to decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception and visual field are more at risk for falls.

“What is most exciting about this new research is how clearly it demonstrates the positive impact that taking care of the eyes can have on our overall health, including the prevention of serious injuries from falls, ” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “By making an appointment with an eye health professional today, you can help avoid debilitating falls in the future.”

To prevent falls, PBA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting vision checked regularly. Other recommendations from the CDC can be found here.