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Visual Field Loss Increases Risk Of Falls For Older Adults

November 30, 2007

Adapted from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Visual field loss (specifically peripheral visual fields) is the primary vision component that increases the risk of falls, according to a study published this month in Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, a peer-reviewed monthly publication of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

For each 10 percent loss in the visual field, people in the study experienced an 8 percent higher chance of falling after adjustment for other risk factors for falls. For example, persons with bilateral glaucoma, who on average would miss 48 points in the total visual field, would have 46 percent higher odds of falling.

The authors of the study speculate that visual field reduction is most likely related to the risk of falls, at least in part, because of its affects on postural stability and aspects of mobility, which in turn is linked with the ability to maneuver around objects.

The authors conclude that people with visual field loss may benefit from mobility training to navigate the environment more safely and reduce the risk of falling.

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Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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