Prevent Blindness Supports National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22

Written by on September 13, 2021

Columbus, OH (September 13, 2021) Marking the beginning of fall, the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness (PBO) and Ohio’s Aging Eye Public Private Partnership are supporting National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22.

The goal is to bring attention to this serious issue that is the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans age 65 and older.

Unfortunately, those with impaired vision are more likely to experience falls and injuries. Visual impairment, which can include decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and/or visual field, influences the risk of falls. Vision impairment can affect balance. It also increases the risk of tripping or misjudging steps, stairs or curbs.

In Ohio, on average of every two minutes an older person falls, resulting in an injury every five minutes, six emergency department visits and one hospitalization each hour, and three deaths each day.

According to data from the Ohio Department of Health:

.From 2010 to 2019, the annual number of fall-related deaths among older adults increased by 55%.

.In 2019, falls among older Ohioans led to 1,490 deaths, 18,856 hospitalizations, and 75,091 emergency department visits.

.Falls account for 60% of fatal traumatic brain injuries among Ohioans age 65 and older.

.A fall can lead to depression, loss of mobility, and loss of functional independence.

.In 2019, 57% of fall-related deaths among older Ohioans occurred in the home and 29% occurred in a residential institution, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Based on data from the Prevent Blindness report “2020 Vision Problems in Ohio,” over 1.7 million Ohioans ages 40 and over are affected by vision-threatening conditions. The primary causes are diabetic retinopathy, cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate supports the Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio’s falls prevention program which offers the following tips to stay active and healthy to prevent falls:

.Have your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses.

.Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls.

.Find a good balance and exercise program, like tai chi, to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Select a program you like and take a friend.

.Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist for side effects that may increase your risk of falling.

.Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible falls risks and act accordingly.

.Drink 6-8 glasses of non-alcoholic liquids each day to prevent low blood pressure, fatigue and confusion.

.Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of vegetables and calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, orange juice, tofu and calcium-fortified cereals to promote your health.

Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine or program.

“Because people with vision impairments are more than twice as likely to fall as those without, keeping a regular schedule of eye examinations with an eye care professional can help avoid debilitating falls in the future,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. “We hope that by alerting the public to the dangers of falls, as well as educating them on ways to avoid them, we can help prevent unnecessary injuries. And, maintaining healthy vision is one way to accomplish this!”

For more information about National Falls Prevention Awareness Day or general eye health, please contact Prevent Blindness at (800) 301-2020 or visit: pbohio.org


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