Here’s a fact you may not be aware of: one of the major causes of fall injuries has nothing to do with your feet. Low vision—a condition of visual impairment that cannot be corrected with eye glasses, medication or surgery—is responsible for a large percentage of falls. In honor of Low Vision Awareness Month, we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC want to educate our patients about this debilitating condition.
Who’s at Risk?
Although most people with low vision are 65 and older, it’s estimated that 3 million Americans age 40 and over have low vision. Of these, 63% are women. Low vision can be caused by or associated with other health conditions including:
· Macular degeneration
· Birth defects
Signs of low vision include difficulty recognizing faces, getting around the neighborhood, sewing or doing small repairs around the house and selecting color coordinated clothing. In addition to falls, people with low vision may have an increased risk for depression and make errors in medication dosages.
What Can Be Done?
The first step is recognizing low vision. If you have had an unexplained fall or find yourself tripping frequently, talk to one of our podiatrists, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko. The foot doctor will ask questions about your medical history and recent activities and also examine your feet to make sure there are no problems with them. The foot doctor can refer you to an appropriate specialist to check your vision.
Patients with low vision can receive rehabilitation to maximize their quality of life. Magnifiers and other adaptive devices can help with daily living tasks. Modifications to the home, including increased lighting, clearing clutter, electrical cords and small furniture and plants from the floor and additional handrails can decrease the risk of falls.
A wealth of resources and specialists in the health care profession can help you take the next step. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, we believe in a total body approach to health and encourage you to ask questions. Contact us for your next appointment at our Lake Success or Valley Stream office by calling: 516-327-0074 or 516-825-4070.