Study takes a closer look at falling risks

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While it is clear that poor vision increases the risk of falling, improved vision might also increase this risk, a new study suggests.

David Elliot, Ph.D., professor of clinical vision science at University of Bradford, and his team of researchers concluded that changes in refractive correction were the likely cause.

Refractive correction not only improves vision but changes magnification, making objects appear smaller or larger and closer or further away, Elliot told McKnight's. Necessary adaptations to these changes can be “difficult” for older people and increase their risk of a fall, he said. 

Several hundred U.K. seniors aged 65 or older took part in the study, which began in 1998. Each session lasted two hours and involved 11 to 20 participants. The researchers placed small, reflective balls on their skin or clothing and used 10 infrared cameras to record their movement as they walked along the floor or up and down stairs. 

Elliot advises optometrists to prescribe “conservatively” and to make vision, lens or refractive corrections only if definitely necessary. 

The study was published in June in Wolters Kluwer Health