Falls Prevention Service

Vision and Falls

Gloucestershire Falls Service

This webpage aims to increase awareness amongst Community Optometrists of the Falls Service and the link between failing vision and the increased risk of falling.

“Falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for people over the age of 65.  Fractures from falling are estimated to cost the NHS £2.2 billion per year in the UK”; source British College of Optometrists “Focus on Falls”.

The Gloucestershire Falls Prevention and Management Team is a service which aims to provide early intervention to prevent falls or further falls.  This is through the assessment and modification of fall risk factors which may include poor vision.  It is led by a clinical specialist physiotherapist.  The service is generally for people over 65 years of age.  They may have been referred by their GP, optometrist or attended at hospital A&E or as an In Patient after falling.  See referral form link.

Assessment is focused on mobility, balance and strength.  A simple vision test may be part of the assessment and the patient subsequently referred to their Community Optometrist for further action if appropriate.  There is a link to the referral form to the right of this page.

Optometrists can ensure Patients are wearing the correct spectacles for their needs.  The Falls Service recommended early removal of cataract to increase contrast sensitivity or second eye surgery to promote binocular vision; which should be considered for elderly people who have fallen or are at risk of falling.

The Multidisciplinary Falls Assessment Clinics

Include a Consultant or Specialist GP, Nurse, Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist.  Referrals are triaged towards the clinic in order to provide the most appropriate assessment and intervention.  These clinics are held at:

Cheltenham General Hospital

Gloucester Royal Hospital

Dilke Memorial Hospital, Forest of Dean

Tewkesbury Hospital

Useful Links

For advice and how to access the Falls Service HTTP://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/en/Wards-and-Departments/Departments/Falls-and-Bone-Health-Service/

College of Optometrists Publication Focus on Falls which includes posters and patient information downloads.

DOCET “The Ageing Eye: Vision and falls” which includes an Interactive Exercise C38310