273314 Association between Severity of Vision Impairment and Falls among People Aged 65 Years and Older Living in the Community: Findings from the BRFSS

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

John E. Crews, DPA , National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Background: Falls are common among people aged 65 and 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, 2008, and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 19 states (n=48,585) and used multivariate logistic regressions to examine the association between VI and falls among adults aged 65 years and older.

Results: For people with no VI, 13.3% reported falls; of those with little or moderate/severe VI, 17.0% and 23.1% reported falls, respectively. 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] 1.33, 95CI (1.15 - 1.53). There was no significant difference between those with little VI and no VI (OR 1.12, 95% CI 0.93=9-1.27). 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).

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
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare prevalence of falls among people reporting no, little, and moderate /severe vision impairment.

Keywords: Vision Care, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in vision rehabilitation and research for over 35 years. I have published over 100 papers, book chapters, and monographs on the topic.
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.