Across the UK, falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for people aged over 65, and of accidental death in those aged over 75. Undetected and untreated visual impairment plays a significant role in the high incidence of falls among older people. This prompted us to investigate ways in which we could reduce vision-related falls and encourage better connections between local falls services and community optometrists.
The recommendations of the resulting College report, Focus on falls, have generated wide-ranging activity to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye examinations for those most at risk, and to support the inclusion of a vision check in the services offered by all UK falls teams.
I believe that there is much that can be done to support falls teams to reduce the unnecessarily high number of falls that could be related to vision. With a little effort we can make a huge difference to the safety and quality of life for our most vulnerable patients.
Olivier Deneve, College Policy Manager and Falls Project Lead