-Millions with Refractive Error, Eye Disease at Increased Risk for Falls-

HOUSTON (Sept. 20, 2013) – In the state of Texas, it is estimated that during 2011, approximately 1.1 million older Texans age 60 and older fell, according to the according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The NCOA also estimated that during 2011, between 900 and 1,000 Texans age 75 and older died from complications associated with falls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one out of three people ages 65 and older falls each year. And, according to the National Council on Aging, every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. People who fall are 2 to 3 times more likely to fall again. By the year 2020, direct and indirect costs related to injuries from falls are expected to reach $54.9 billion.

Unfortunately, those with impaired vision are more likely to experience falls and injuries. Vision impairment can affect balance. It also increases the risk of tripping or misjudging steps, stairs or curbs. Today, based on data from the 2012 “Vision Problems in the U.S.” study, more than 48 million Americans over the age of 40 have refractive errors, in addition to the more than 36 million with cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Prevent Blindness Texas joins with more than 70 national organizations of the Falls Free™ Coalition to declare Sept. 22, 2013, the first day of autumn, as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year’s theme, “Preventing Falls—One Step at a Time,” is aimed at educating the public on the risk factors for falls and prevention strategies.  

The CDC also states that most falls are caused by a combination of multiple risk factors. Some risk factors can be modifiable including:

  • Poor vision
  • Lower body weakness
  • Difficulties with gait and balance
  • Use of psychoactive medications
  • Postural dizziness
  • Problems with feet and/or shoes
  • Home hazards

“The overall impact of a fall on an older person can be devastating, beyond just the initial injury. The effects on the patient, caregivers and family can be emotionally and financially enormous,” said Debbie Goss, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Texas. “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 Texas at 1-888-98-SIGHT or visit www.preventblindnesstexas.org.

About Prevent Blindness Texas   

Founded in 1956, Prevent Blindness is the state’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness Texas touches the lives of thousands of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the Texas public. Through a network of regional offices and volunteers, we are committed to eliminating preventable blindness in Texas. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-888-98-SIGHT or visit us on our website, Facebook, Twitter, or blog.

 

Read the Falls Prevention Awareness Press Release.