While most older adults wear prescription glasses for one purpose or another, many don’t realize how important the right eyewear actually is. As people age, their eyes become slower to focus or adjust to changing lighting conditions, and grow more sensitive to glare. Night vision may be affected, and distance and depth may be harder to judge. Regular eye exams and the proper prescription can do more than protect an older adult’s quality of life — they may protect her physical health and reduce her risk of falling.
If you wish to ensure a longer, independent life, it’s important to keep vision issues from slowing you down by having your eyes checked at least once a year. Regular eye exams by an optometrist can keep you safe and healthy. And a good optician, along with adherence to these tips, can ensure you choose the best prescription glasses to correct your vision.
Prescription Glasses and Your Fall Risk
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are a number of ways in which your vision could increase your fall risk: poor depth perception, glaucoma, and cataracts, as well as uncorrected vision problems. Wearing multifocal eyewear, over-the-counter reading glasses, or an outdated prescription could also cause you to be unsteady on your feet.
By ensuring you visit your eye doctor regularly and keeping on top of your prescription, you can minimize the impact of poor vision on your fall risk. You can also catch common eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma before they become serious enough to limit your mobility and independence.
Eyeglass Style and Safety Tips for Seniors
The Vision Council suggests three things to consider when choosing fashionable frames: the shape of your face, the size of your face, and colors that complement your skin tone. Most people’s face shapes can be categorized as oval, round, triangular, square, or oblong. Once you have identified which shape most closely applies to your face, choose a frame with a shape that contrasts. Next, you’ll want to decide on a frame that’s not too large or too small for your face, and that doesn’t impede your vision. Once you’ve done that, you can look for a frame color that complements your natural skin tone and suits your wardrobe.
It’s certainly not all about looks, though. There are a number of factors that go into selecting new prescription glasses. Before you purchase your next pair of eyeglasses, consider the following tips:
- Be aware of the increased fall risk for those with bifocals or multifocals. Ask your optician about how to adjust to bifocal or multifocal lenses, as these lenses may cause vision issues on stairs and other uneven surfaces.
- Discuss the pros and cons of transitional lenses with your optician.
- Choose lenses made of flexible, durable materials if you are active, or if you frequently drop things.
- Ask about any available glare-reduction options.
- Consider investing in prescription sunglasses or tinted clip-on frames that attach to your regular frames.
- Consult an occupational therapist if you have extremely impaired vision that cannot be corrected through prescription glasses or other means.
The right prescription glasses help you stay safe and active. The wrong prescription — or no prescription at all — could lead to serious injury and loss of independence. Getting regular eye exams will help to reduce your fall risk and improve your quality of life.