Falls Top List of Causes for Eye Injuries

Thousands of Americans are treated in hospitals for serious eye injuries each year. But what are the main causes of these injuries, and can they be prevented?

According to recent research from Johns Hopkins University, falling tops the list of major causes. While serious eye injuries like those caused by falls can be expensive to treat – at an average of $20,000 per injury, according to the study – the researchers say that these types of injuries are largely preventable. That means interventions could lower eye injury rates and overall health care costs.

The researchers studied the records of 47,000 patients ages 0 to 80 treated for ocular trauma from 2002 to 2011 using a national health care database. The data showed that most of the 8,425 falls recorded happened to those 60 and older. Among the types of falls, slipping caused nearly 3,000 eye injuries. Falling down stairs was cited as a cause of eye injury 900 times.

The researchers also discovered that nearly 8,000 hospitalizations for eye injuries were caused by fighting and various types of assault. “Unarmed fight or brawl” came in at No. 2 overall among specific causes of eye injuries requiring hospitalization, but was the top cause reported for ages 10 to 59.

Simple Adjustments Around the Home Can Help Those with Low Vision

Low vision can be a significant obstacle for older people trying to maintain their independence. A common condition among seniors, low vision can make everyday activities difficult, increasing reliance on loved ones and caregivers while increasing the risk of falls and depression. However, here are a few simple adjustments around the home that can lessen this dependency for those with less severe forms of low vision.

Set the Scene

Place furniture in small groupings so less distance vision is required during a conversation. Avoid upholstery and rugs with patterns, which can create visual confusion. Instead, find furniture with texture, which provides tactile clues for identification.

Increase Contrast and Color

Set brightly colored accessories around the home to help with locating the items around them. Use contrasting colors to clearly define doorknobs, steps, door frames, switch plates, outlets or stairway landings to help decrease risk of missteps and falls.

Make it Bright

Brighter lighting can help with reading and activities such as sewing or cooking. Provide plenty of floor lamps and table lamps to enhance overhead lighting. Remove mirrors that reflect lights to create a glare. Use window coverings that can allow natural light through.

Get Rid of Hazards

Use non-glare products to clean floors instead of wax. Tape down area rugs and remove electrical cords from pathways to decrease risk of falling and injury.

Keep Up With Eye Exams

Several diseases that cause low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are progressive and can get worse without proper monitoring and treatment. During a comprehensive eye exam, an ophthalmologist can identify both the type and severity of vision loss, and in some cases refer patients to low vision rehabilitation.

Having low vision can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean giving up your independence. Just a few adjustments around the house can make a big difference in maintaining comfort and strengthening your ability to accomplish your normal daily activities with partial sight.