Norville Opticians marks National Falls Week
A south west firm of opticians has highlighted the link between poor eyesight in the elderly and falling over in a special event to mark Age UK's National Falls Week.
Norville Opticians which has practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire invited some of its older patients to attend a special event at its Cirencester premises where they were shown how impaired vision is associated with an increased risk of falling and how the risk of falling and sustaining a serious injury increases with age.
Practice Manager Jo O'Neill was able to simulate some untreated eye conditions with the use of simulator spectacles to show the effects of serious conditions such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.
She said: "As your vision has been shown to play such an important part in controlling your posture and balance when moving around it goes without saying that the elderly who are at a greater risk of falling over and seriously injuring themselves should ensure that their eyes are regularly checked as part of an overall health programme".
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She added: "Even if they have had their eyes checked, they need to be wearing their spectacles, wearing the correct ones if they have more than one pair and making sure that they are clean.
"You wouldn't believe the state of some that we see".
They also invited Denise Nethercott of Fit for Life who provides exercise for the older population and demonstrates how regular exercise can prevent falls by improving posture and balance in addition to muscle strength and stamina.
Denise pointed out how falls are the leading cause for hospital admissions in the over 65s.
It has been estimated that falls cost the UK government around £981million annually with £128 million being directly attributable to falls due to visual impairment.
She said: "Our population is getting older and the proportion of hospital beds being taken up by those who have fallen is increasing.
"Even disregarding the welfare of the elderly we should be doing everything we can to slow this down".
She added: "Weight bearing exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to maintain healthy bones.
"Any activity that supports the weight of your own body is good and can be as simple as walking or climbing stairs or more formal exercise like tai chi or dancing."