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Falls risk lowered by single lens glasses


Providing single lens distance glasses to older people instead of multifocal glasses is a simple and inexpensive way to cut falls in those who regularly take part in outdoor activities.

This was the result of a study by Australian researchers published in the BMJ online.

They said multifocal glasses have optical defects that can impair balance and cause falls.

Their study of 606 people found swapping multifocal glasses for single lens pairs cut falls by 40 per cent over 13 months in subjects who regularly went outdoors.

Use of single lens glasses did not reduce falls in more fragile older people or those who spent more time indoors.


Readers' comments (6)


    A great idea but for the confused patient it will be a bit of a problem ,do they have the ability to realise that they need to change glasses to read.

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  • Whilst I agree that in extreme cases this may be useful you cant simply restrict freedom of the elderly even further by dictating to them what sort of glasses they should be wearing. It is extremely trying having to take glasses on and off according to different activities and remembering to always take the right ones everywhere you go every minute of the day. Bifocals for some were a great invention and it is up to the individual and not up to more public cost cutting savings. Go and look at some of the important and urgent issues in the NHS.

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  • Elderly people who are more prevelant to dibilitating eye conditions need to be aware of the need for separate pairs of specs which will not only reduce falls but also increase their field of vision for distance and near. Cost unfortunately is often the main problem but if a patient has dementia it can be very difficult for them to know which pair to wear.

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  • careless writing above - careless nurse or lack of education?

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  • I am sure the article was not suggesting that older people be restricted from wearing the glasses of their choice, but with the latest figures showing the cost of falls to the NHS at £4.6m/day, it would surely be a good idea to suggest it, to those that are able to comprehend the benifits of a 40% reduction in the risk of their falling.

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  • rubbish!

    I don't have any problems with my varilux lenses and they offer more liberty than having to change glasses. that is the whole point. I also like nice looking designer glasses none of this cheap nhs stuff. nobody is going to start dictating to me what type of glasses i do and do not wear! if i have a fall and is is due to my glasses then it will be my decision to change if i deem it necessary. it is time you nhs started thinking about your patients you are there to serve and not counting your pennies first and before peoples' health and lives to which you are entrusted. you have been employed to act as nurses not as accountants and control police!

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