Vision, Balance & Falls in Older Adults Podcast
Falls are a significant cause of injury, health care utilization, morbidity, and mortality among older adults. Older adults with visual impairment are more likely to experience falls compared with their normally sighted counter-parts, due to reduced ability to extract relevant visual information from the environment to guide safe walking, but also its impact on balance. Furthermore, visual impairment reduces physical activity in a similar way to other serious medical conditions, whereby older adults with visual impairment may be at a higher risk of falling than their normally sighted peers due to impaired physical function, predominantly, strength and balance. While exercise has been shown to be effective in reducing falls in older adults, results for those with visual impairment remain mixed.
This podcast will outline some of the common eye conditions causing vision impairment in older populations, describe their impact on balance and falls, and discuss some of the challenges for exercise-based falls prevention strategies in this population.
This is a recording of a webinar presented by ESSA on 22 October 2020.
Presented by Dr Alex Black, BAppSc(Optom), MPH, PhD
Dr Black is a lecturer and researcher in the QUT School of Optometry & Vision Science. His research centres on better understanding the links between vision in older adults and functional performance, particularly in those with eye disease and visual impairment. The focus of his research is on mobility, given that falls are a leading cause of injuries and hospitalizations in older adults. His PhD research provided a systematic study of the effects of visual impairment resulting from the eye disease glaucoma on balance, functional impairment and prospective falls among older adults. He also spent two years as a fall prevention researcher at Queensland Health, evaluating community and hospital-based falls prevention programs across the state. Dr Black has a strong track record of high quality, peer reviewed publications in the top international journals in my research field of vision, ageing, mobility and driving. Collectively, his research has been published in 38 peer reviewed papers and one book chapter. Dr Black contributes to reviewing leading journals in Ophthalmology, Optometry & Vision Science (Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, Translational Vision Science, Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, BMC Ophthalmology, Archives of Ophthalmology), as well as various gerontology journals (Experimental Gerontology, JAGS, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics) and other journals (PLOS One, Gait & Posture, Experimental Brain Research).
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