Close up of stairs and banister

As we get older, incidences of sight loss increase.

This may be caused by normal ageing of the eye, an eye condition, another health condition such as stroke or dementia.

Although anyone maybe at risk of falling it is important to be aware that people with sight loss are more likely to fall and have multiple falls than those without sight loss of similar age.

What can you do to reduce the risk of falling because of sight loss?

Get your eyes checked

You may not be aware you are developing sight loss until it has a significant impact. However, 50 per cent of sight loss is avoidable. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing unnecessary sight loss. 

Top tips:

  • Get your eyes examined every two years or as often as advised by an optometrist/optician. 

  • If you notice any changes in your vision, make an appointment with your optician to discuss your concerns.

  • If you have a disability or illness which makes it difficult to leave your house, you're entitled to an eye examination at home.

  • If you feel a traditional letter chart is unsuitable, let the optician know as they have alternative ways to examine your vision.

  • If you need glasses, ask the optometrist/optician to recommend the most appropriate glasses for you.

  • If you wear glasses, follow the four Cs: make sure your glasses are Correct, Current, Clean and Comfortable to make the most of your vision.

Make simple changes in your home

Half of all falls happen at home. These simple changes can reduce the risk of falls if you have sight loss.

  • Utilise natural light where possible. Where there is too much glare or shadows, try controlling natural light with vertical blinds.

  • Consider improving light levels at the top and bottom stairs to reduce potential falls. 

  • Use contrasting handrails, plain coloured carpet, edging on steps and stairs.

  • Have contrasting edging on steps and stairs.

  • Use brighter and bolder colours to create good colour contrast.

  • Keep things in set places and encourage a consistent clutter-free environment. 

Other factors to consider 

  • If you use your furniture as landmarks, and a visitor or carer has to move it for access, ask them to move it back to its original position.

  • Clear up spillages immediately – water on floors can be difficult to see.

  • Replace or repair tripping hazards such as loose room dividers or frayed carpets.

  • Within the garden or outside the home, try to keep areas free of moss and fallen leaves (which become a hazard when wet), replace broken slabs.

  • Wear sunglasses to address problems with glare caused by bright sunlight. Remember low set winter sun reflecting on ice and snow can cause problems with glare too.