Vision and falls

Clin Exp Optom. 2005 Jul;88(4):212-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2005.tb06699.x.


Falls occur in about one third of older people living independently in the community every year. This can lead to significant physical, psychological and financial costs to the individual and the community. While the risk factors for falls in older people are multifactorial, poor vision is considered to be an important contributing factor. The aim of this review is to evaluate current research linking impaired visual function with falls and to review current intervention strategies for the prevention of falls in older individuals. The evidence from the current literature indicates that impairment of visual functions, such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual fields and depth perception, is associated with an increased risk of falls. Recent studies have also demonstrated that falls can be reduced following cataract surgery as a visual intervention. Optometrists need to be aware of these associations and through appropriate treatment, referral and/or education, they can play a major role in optimising visual function in older people, as part of a multidisciplinary approach to falls prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*