-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Fall-prone older adults may
be more at risk for taking a tumble because they don't slow their
walking speed when their vision is impaired, a small new study
The researchers, Fiona Newell of Trinity College in Dublin and
colleagues, looked at five older adults who had fallen at least
once in the past year, six older adults who had not fallen, and six
The participants' walking was monitored under normal conditions
and again when they wore goggles that caused blurred vision.
The walking ability of all three groups was affected by the
blurred vision, but especially in the fall-prone older adults. The
younger adults and the older adults who hadn't fallen compensated
for their blurred vision by slowing their walking speed, but the
fall-prone older adults did not, the investigators found.
The fall-prone participants also made more errors in returning
to the starting point of the walking course.
The findings suggest that the ability to collect and process the
visual information needed to navigate the surrounding environment
is more severely impaired in fall-prone older adults than in older
adults who have not fallen.
The study is published in the current issue of the journal
Insight: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and
About 30 percent of adults over 65 years of age have at least
one fall a year and 12 percent of these seniors fall at least twice
a year, according to background information in the study.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
falls and older adults.
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