Optometrists Play a Significant Role in Fall Prevention in Older Adults: Seniors with Low Vision Twice as likely to Fall

October 28, 2019 – Although there are many factors that can cause a fall, vision loss is often the primary cause. Even the smallest change in a person’s vision can increase the risk of a fall, especially in seniors.

“Seniors with visual impairment are twice as likely to fall,” says Dr. Joshua C. Smith, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO). “And often they are not aware of how subtle forms of impairment, such as changes in peripheral vision and depth perception, can contribute to accident occurrence and avoidance.”

Age-related vision conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, and even simply not wearing glasses, can prevent seniors from seeing objects in their way and lead to falls.

Falls can be quite serious and often result in injuries such as hip fractures and head trauma, which can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life. However, many falls can help be prevented through a comprehensive eye examination. An optometrist can diagnose vision-threatening conditions so that appropriate action can be taken before an accident occurs.

“As primary eye care providers, it is our responsibility not only to address patients’ vision and eye health needs, but also to discuss safety and injury prevention concerns, so that our patients can continue living safely and independently,” says Dr. Smith.

Annual eye exams for adults over the age of 65 are covered by OHIP.

Find an optometrist near you.


The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is the leading professional organization, representing over 1,700 optometrists. We are dedicated to helping our members provide the highest standard of eye health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of optometry forward.  For more information: optom.on.ca.


Brittany Blow
Ontario Association of Optometrists
905-826-3522 ext. 246

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