Visually Impaired Individuals at Significant Greater Risk of Diminished Balance
Posted Jul 19 2013 9:00am
Wear them if you need them!
UC Davis Health System Eye Center research has
found that visually impaired individuals and those those who could benefit from glasses to achieve
normal vision but don’t wear glasses — have a significantly greater risk
of diminished balance than individuals with normal vision.
The research suggests that vision may play an important role in calibrating the
vestibular system, which includes the bones and soft tissue of the inner
ear, to help optimize physical balance.
“We know that vision and balance are
highly integrated in the brain, but we don’t fully understand the
relative contributions of the visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular
systems in maintaining balance and preventing falls, especially among
the visually impaired,” said Jeffrey R. Willis, an ophthalmology
resident at UC Davis Health System Eye Center and lead author of the
According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, falls among older adults alone cost the
U.S. health care system over $30 billion in 2010. One in three adults
age 65 and older falls each year, and of those who fall, 20 percent to
30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard for them
to get around or live independently, and increase their risk of early
“Studies should also address how poor vision may lead to lower
levels of physical and balance activities, as well as on how
vision-related fall prevention strategies can be integrated with other
fall prevention strategies to more effectively limit falls in our
I am not sure they needed a study that shows how we can become disoriented if we cannot see properly and that can lead to falls. Lesson - have your eyes checked and wear your glasses if prescribed!