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A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology showed an increased risk of falls and fractures in older patients with 3 common eye diseases. Researchers found those with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and cataracts—when compared to individuals who do not have those conditions—experienced an increased risk of falling as well as high-impact and low-impact fractures in the hip, spine, forearm, skull, facial bones, pelvis, ribs, sternum, and lower leg. When studying incidents of falling against a cohort of patients without any of the 3 eye diseases, more patients with cataracts experienced falls (29.7% vs 13.9%) as did those with AMD (37.1% vs 20.7%) and glaucoma (252.0% vs 12.8%). More patients with cataracts experienced fractures (14.4% vs 8.2%) as did those with AMD (17.8% vs 11.6%) and glaucoma (12.2% vs 7.3%). The retrospective study included 18 million patients in the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2020.

Association of injuries and eye disease: Authors note even mild impairments in vision can affect balance, posture, and gait, contributing to injury risk. When older patients present with fractures and other fall-related injuries, a referral to an ophthalmologist might be a worthwhile recommendation. Learn more about managing falls in older patients with this feature from the JUCM archive: Urgent Care Management Of Geriatric Falls

Poor Vision Associated With Falls and Fractures