Jan 16, 2024

Various Eye Diseases Raise Risk for Falls

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according to a retrospective cohort study.

Poor vision is associated with risks for falls and fractures, but details about risks associated with specific eye diseases are less clear. In this retrospective U.K. cohort study, researchers identified nearly 600,000 patients (mean age, 74) with cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and compared them with age-and sex-matched control patients who did not have eye diseases. Falls and fractures were tracked for a median of about 4 years. Analyses were adjusted for a wide range of chronic diseases and medications that increase risk for falls.

Compared with controls, patients with eye diseases had significantly higher hazard ratios for falls and fractures: HRs ranged from 1.18 to 1.38 for the three eye-disease groups. The incidence rates for falls per 100,000 person-years were about 1,800 to 2,500 for the three eye-disease groups, compared with 620 to 850 for control groups. For fractures, the corresponding incidence rates for the three eye-disease groups were 970 to 1,290, compared with 380 to 500 for control groups.

The absolute and relative risks for falls and fractures were similar for all 3 eye-disease groups. An unexplained fall, particularly an injurious one, should prompt primary care clinicians to explore visual impairment as a potential cause or contributing factor.

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