249547 Association between Severity of Vision Impairment and Falls among People Aged 65 and Older Living in the Community: Findings from the BRFSS

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:50 AM

John E. Crews, DPA , National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Chiu-Fang Chou, Dr PH , The Vision Health Initiative, Division of Diabetes Translation/The Ginn Group, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Judy Stevens, PhD , Ncipc/duip, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Xinzhi Zhang , National Vision Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Jinan B. Saaddine, MD, MPH , National Vision Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Background: Falls are common among people aged 65and older.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of self-reported falls in the past three months among community-dwelling older adults by visual impairment (VI) status.

Methods: We analyzed 2006 and 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 17 states (n=37,578) and used multivariate logistic regressions to examine the association between VI and falls among adults aged 65 and older. Results: Overall, 15.7% (95% CI 15.1%-16.4%) of older adults reported falling in the past three months. Nearly 64% of adultsaged 65+ reported no VI; 21% reported little VI, and 15% reported moderate/severe VI. For people with no VI, 13.5% (95% CI 12.8%-14.2%) reported falls; of those with little or moderate/severe VI, 16.9% (95%.CI 15.5%-18.3%) and 22.8% (95% CI 20.9%-24.9%) reported falls, respectively. Our findings also indicate that, independent of VI status, falls are strongly associated with older age, being non-Hispanic white (vs. non-Hispanic black), having poor health status, and having chronic conditions or activity limitations (all P < 0.05). After controlling for selected factors, older adults with moderate to severe VI were more likely to report falling than those with no VI (odds ratio [OR] 1.23, 95CI 1.06-1.44). There was no significant difference between those with little VI and no VI (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.93-1.22). Conclusions: Severity of VI is associated with falls among older adults. A comprehensive fall prevention strategy needs to incorporate eye care and vision health promotion.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare prevalence of falls among older people with vision impairment to those without vision impairment.

Keywords: Vision Care, Injury

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Thirty-five years of research and practive in vision and vision rehabilitation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.