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Evaluating Fall Risk in People with Low Vision: A Case Series

Author(s): Kierstyn Napier-Dovorany, OD | Victoria Graham, DPT

Journal: Optometry & Visual Performance
ISSN 2325-3479

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 93;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: accidental fall | gait | low vision | physical activity | postural balance

Background: People with low vision have increased risk for falls and preventable health conditions due to sedentary lifestyle and reduced participation in social activities. This case series describes an interprofessional low vision, balance, and mobility evaluation of two patients referred to our low vision optometric clinic. Case Report: RM, an 82-year-old white female with diabetic retinopathy, and PC, a 55-year-old white female with retinopathy of prematurity, completed a comprehensive low vision eye exam and a selection of screening balance tests: Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale questionnaire (ABC), five meter timed walking, Four Square Step Test (FSST), and computerized posturography. Falls were measured historically and prospectively for six months. Visual acuity for RM was OD 20/250, OS 20/80 and for PC was OD NLP, OS 20/400. Confrontation fields were full OD, restricted OS for RM and full OS for PC. Both were slower than age matched norms on a timed walking test. Only RM was outside normal limits for the ABC and FSST. Computerized posturography results were abnormal for both and were used in part to make specific recommendations for fall prevention.Conclusion: By performing an interprofessional vision and mobility examination it was possible both to identify and to make individualized therapeutic recommendations for fall intervention.
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