Visual Loss and Falls

  • Weijie Violet Lin
  • Andrew G. LeeEmail author


Impairment of vision is a significant, independent risk factor for falls, which are themselves a leading cause of injuries and increased healthcare costs in elderly populations. Screening and monitoring of visual function should include not only central acuity but also visual field, binocular vision, and contrast sensitivity. Correction of vision, such as by cataract surgery, has been shown to improve postural stability and reduce incidence of falls; however, caution has been advised in using multifocal glasses, as they have been shown to impair edge-contrast sensitivity and depth perception. In particular, stair negotiation is an important hazard, and exercise programs and cognitive training can reduce fall risk. Advances have been undertaken in the use of sensors to monitor falls and improve screening detection algorithms, although standardizing parameters among separate algorithms remains a challenge. In addition to complete visual and medical screening for fall risk, clinicians also should counsel patients and families on the impact of visual loss on fall risks and quality of life. Home safety inspections and reassessments of environmental hazards should be conducted regularly.


Fall risk Fall prevention Fall risk screening Frailty syndrome Postural instability Home safety Fractures Practice-based learning and improvement Systems-based learning Interpersonal and communication skills 



The authors of the chapter would like to thank Dr. David Steven Friedman for his contribution toward this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Baylor College of Medicine, School of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Blanton Eye Institute, Houston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Weill Cornell MedicineNew York CityUSA
  4. 4.UTMBGalvestonUSA
  5. 5.UT MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Texas A&M College of MedicineCollege StationUSA
  7. 7.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  8. 8.University of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA
  9. 9.University of BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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