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Single Lens Distance Glasses May Reduce Falls

Appear to prevent outside falls in active older adults but not those who spend more time indoors

WEDNESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Older individuals who wear multifocal glasses and take part in regular outdoor activity may prevent falls by using single lens distance glasses for outside use; however, this intervention may be harmful in those who wear multifocal glasses and take part in limited outdoor activity, according to a study published online May 25 in BMJ.

Mark J. Haran, of Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues evaluated 606 individuals (mean age, 80 years) who were regular wearers of multifocal glasses and used them at least three times per week for outdoor activities and had an increased risk of falling. Participants were randomized to single lens distance glasses or to a control group.

After 13 months, the researchers found that, among the 299 intervention and 298 control participants available for follow-up, the intervention led to an 8 percent reduction in total falls. While the intervention was effective in significantly reducing all falls (incidence rate ratio, 0.60), outside falls, and injurious falls in those who regularly took part in outdoor activities, participants in the intervention group who took part in few outside activities experienced a significant increase in outside falls.

"With appropriate counseling, provision of single lens glasses for older wearers of multifocal glasses who take part in regular outdoor activities is an effective falls prevention strategy. The intervention may be harmful, however, in multifocal glasses wearers with low levels of outdoor activity," the authors write.

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