Seniors: Check your vision to prevent falls

Falls are the leading cause of serious injuries among seniors. Seniors with low vision are more than twice as likely to fall, which is why it’s important to visit a Doctor of Optometry every year for a comprehensive eye exam.  Alberta Health covers the cost of annual eye exams for Albertans aged 65 and older.   

As most people age, their vision needs change. Some changes that you may notice include:

•    Identifying objects is more challenging, especially at night
•    Judging distance is more difficult
•    Everyday tasks like reading take more effort or require glasses
•    Colours are less bright and the contrast between colours is less noticeable
•    Visual fields begin to narrow, which may lead to challenges with driving
•    Fewer tears are produced, leading to burning or stinging dry eyes

Here are some actions you can take to improve and protect your vision and prevent falls:

•    Use high wattage light bulbs
•    Use nightlights or motion sensors in the bathroom and hallways
•    Wear sunglasses, even in the winter
•    Mark the edge of stairs with coloured paint or treads
•    Keep the lighting similar in every room
•    Speak with your optometrist about multifocal lenses

Discuss any changes to your eyes or vision with your optometrist
. Getting expert care from a Doctor of Optometry is crucial for preserving sight, preventing falls and protecting overall health.

Early detection is key

The risk of developing eye diseases, including cataractsglaucoma and age-related macular degeneration , increases with age. Health problems like diabetes and hypertension, which can also affect vision, also become a greater concern. During a comprehensive eye exam, an optometrist can detect these problems early – before signs and symptoms even appear, which could do more than save a person’s sight – it could also help save their life.


November is Falls Prevention Month across Canada
. The Alberta Association of Optometrists is pleased to support the 2016 Finding Balance campaign: “Stay Independent. Prevent Falls.” Albertans are encouraged to prevent falls by:
•    Staying active;
•    Checking their vision; and
•    Reviewing their medications.