There are several reasons why people fall over and not all are related to poor eyesight. You are most at risk of falling if you:
- Are aged over 75;
- Are a woman;
- Have fallen before;
- Have Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, Meniere’s disease or dementia and/or ;
- Are taking sedatives, antidepressants or more than four prescription medicines a day.
Reduce the chances of falls
- Try to keep your eyes healthy – see maintaining good eyesight
- Have good lighting. Energy saving bulbs are fine as long as you position them correctly. We recommend having lamps close to where you need the light (for example, a lamp near the chair where you sit to read).
- Make sure you turn the lights on at home when it is dark, so that you can see where you are going.
- Make sure that your carpets are well fitted and do not have trip hazards, such as creases, in them. If you have a rug that is on a slippery floor, make sure that it does not slip or move when you walk on it.
- Wear suitable footwear when you are walking around, both at home and outside.
- Having a good contrast between things can make them easier to see. Examples would be having a dark toilet seat on a white toilet (and a dark bathroom floor if you have a white toilet, sink and so on) and having dark edges on steps or stairs.
- If you are dazzled by the sunshine when you are out, wear sunglasses that absorb the UV light or a hat with a brim to shield you from the sunlight.
- If your optometrist has told you that you should wear glasses for distance (watching television, walking about and so on) you should keep them on when you are walking outside your home.
- If you wear bifocals or varifocals, you may be more likely to fall, even if you are used to them. If you take part in regular outdoor activities, it may be a good idea to have a pair of distance glasses to wear outdoors and when you are in unfamiliar places, or to take your glasses off if your distance prescription is not very strong. Your optometrist will be able to advise you about this.
- An optometrist may be able to reduce your chance of falling. If you have had a big change in prescription for glasses, ask your optometrist whether they can change the strength of your glasses gradually to make is easier for you to get used to your new prescription. You should only wear your new glasses at home until you are used to them.