Ocular pathologies, which include cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, are independent risk factors for falls in adults aged older than 65 years, according to research published in Geriatric Nursing. These findings highlight the need for early disease detection, diagnosis, and management to prevent falls and improve quality of life among this population, the report suggests.
Researchers included 775 individuals in the retrospective, cross-sectional study and stratified participants according to fall risk. A total of 208 patients (mean age, 76.29 years; 63% women) had a history of falls within the past year compared with 567 individuals (mean age, 74.10 years; 49.2%) without a history of falls. The team obtained demographic, clinical, and ophthalmic data from hospital records. Ophthalmic data included history of ocular pathologies, best-corrected visual acuity, intraocular pressure, and visual impairment history. The investigators compared demographic and ophthalmic parameters between participants who were a fall risk vs those who were not at risk for falls.
Older age (odds ratio [OR], 1.05) and female sex (OR, 1.76) significantly elevated fall risk (P ≤.001 for both) among the cohort. Diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma were independent fall risk factors in adults with ocular pathologies (OR, 2.18; OR, 1.65; and OR, 1.63, respectively). However, having access to care from family and friends reduced the risk of falls in individuals with eye disease (OR, 0.446), according to the report.
“[E]arly detection, early diagnosis, timely cataract surgery and better control of glaucoma and [diabetic retinopathy] development may reduce the risk of falls,” according to the study authors. “Our results may shed light on the prevention of falls in the older adult with eye diseases, improving the quality of life of the older adult and alleviating unnecessary burdens on family and social medical care.”
Potential recall bias and the study’s cross-sectional nature are acknowledged limitations to the research.
Ouyang S, Zhang X, Li H, et al. Cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are independent risk factors affecting falls in the older adult with eye diseases. Geriatr Nurs. Published online August 2, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2023.07.001