BENGALURU: Fear of falling is a serious and common problem among ageing adults and they also have one of the highest injury-related mortality rates.
What is AMD?
AMD is an eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 60 and above. It affects the macula of the retina causing damage to the centre vision and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.
How AMD leads to fear of falling
Age-related macular degeneration causes poor vision that has been associated with frequent accidental falls and leads to severe injuries. Overall, 74 per cent of participants have been reported to have either a fall or a non–fall–related injury. Among AMD patients, increased visual impairment was signiﬁcantly associated with an increased incidence of falls and other injuries. AMD has also been associated with poor balance, difficulty with activities of daily living, smaller life space and poor quality of life all of which may influence its relationship with fall and fear of falling.
Effective ways to overcome the issue
- Family members helping them to become physically independent and create a safe home environment
- Improvement of strength and balance
- Improve lighting
- Modification in home hazards
- Not using unsafe footwear
Retinal diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is lifelong but manageable. However, timely diagnosis can help patients catch up with the disease early and improve quality of life. 50-60% of patients present in a retina clinic with retinal disorder symptoms, are already in an advanced stage of the disease. As there is lack of awareness and patients or caregiver overlooks the symptoms. Hence, seeking expert advice on time is crucial. This will not only help in managing AMD effectively, but also will reduce the risk of other factors like depression and fear falling in patient’s life.
There are treatments available for AMD that can reverse, slow or halt disease progression in some cases. The treatments can prove more effective if the condition is diagnosed early. The treatment options available in India include laser photocoagulation, anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) injections and combination therapy which includes laser and anti-VEGF treatment.
– The author is the director and vitreo-retinal consultant at Nethra Eye Hospital, Bangalore