February Is Low Vision Awareness Month

LOW VISION IMPACTS FALLS 
Submitted by Shanea Harrington

Low vision is described as a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with standard glasses, contacts, medications, or surgery (National Eye Institute, n.d.). This can make daily tasks and chores very difficult; even just getting around the house can become a danger. This partial loss of vision greatly increases one’s chances of becoming a victim to  falling, most notably with older adults. Low vision makes it hard to see objects clearly or discern where a step ends and the floor begins, which can present fall risks.

Fortunately, there are some ways to improve vision and reduce the chances of falling. Special optical devices such as stand and handheld magnifying glasses, strong magnifying reading glasses, and loupes greatly increase the magnification and are different from regular magnifying devices (Gerritsen, n.d.). Limiting the risk of falls can be accomplished by lining steps and stairways with brightly colored tape to increase visibility, reducing clutter from floors, walkways, stairwells and placing night lights in hallways and stairways to name a few (Babinski & Buck, 2015 ). For more information on devices to improve vision, visit the American Foundation for the Blind or their family site, VisionAware.org, and for more ways to decrease falls, please visit The Discovery Eye Foundation.

References
1. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Low vision awareness month. Retrieved from https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/lvam
2. Babinski, A. & Buck, M. (2015). Low vision aging adults at higher risk for falls. Retrieved from    http://discoveryeye.org/risk-for-falls/
3. Gerritsen, B. (n.d.). Overview of low vision devices. Retrieved from    http://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/helpful-products/overview-of-low-vision-devices/124

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