Risk of falls, injurious falls, and other injuries resulting from visual impairment among older adults with age-related macular degeneration

Wood, J.M., Lacherez, P., Black, A.A., Cole, M.H., Boon, M.Y., & Kerr, G.K. (2011) Risk of falls, injurious falls, and other injuries resulting from visual impairment among older adults with age-related macular degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 52(8), pp. 5088-5092.

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Purpose: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment among older adults. This study explored the relationship between AMD, falls risk and other injuries and identified visual risk factors for these adverse events.

Methods: Participants included 76 community-dwelling individuals with a range of severity of AMD (mean age, 77.0±6.9 years). Baseline assessment included binocular visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and merged visual fields. Participants completed monthly falls and injury diaries for one year following the baseline assessment.

Results: Overall, 74% of participants reported having either a fall, injurious fall or other injury. Fifty-four percent of participants reported a fall and 30% reported more than one fall; of the 102 falls reported, 63% resulted in an injury. Most occurred outdoors (52%), between late morning and late afternoon (61%) and when navigating on level ground (62%). The most common non-fall injuries were lacerations (36%) and collisions with an object (35%). Reduced contrast sensitivity and visual acuity were associated with increased fall rate, after controlling for age, gender, cognitive function, cataract severity and self-reported physical function. Reduced contrast sensitivity was the only significant predictor of falls and other injuries.

Conclusion: Among older adults with AMD, increased visual impairment was significantly associated with an increased incidence of falls and other injuries. Reduced contrast sensitivity was significantly associated with increased rates of falls, injurious falls and injuries, while reduced visual acuity was only associated with increased falls risk. These findings have important implications for the assessment of visually impaired older adults.

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46 citations in Scopus
42 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 43844
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Falls, Older people, Age-related Macular Degeneration
DOI: 10.1167/iovs.10-6644
ISSN: 0146-0404
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Deposited On: 08 Aug 2011 22:19
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 17:17

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