Quantifying Fall-Related Hazards in the Homes of Persons with Glaucoma

Andrea V. Yonge, Bonnielin Swenor, Rhonda Miller, Victoria Goldhammer, Sheila K West, David S Friedman, Laura N Gitlin, Pradeep Ramulu

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Abstract

Objective: To characterize fall-related hazards in the homes of persons with suspected or diagnosed glaucoma, and to determine whether those with worse visual field (VF) damage have fewer home hazards. Design: Cross-sectional study using baseline (2013-2015) data from the ongoing Falls in Glaucoma Study (FIGS). Participants: One-hundred seventy-four of 245 (71.0%) FIGS participants agreeing to the home assessment. Methods: Participants' homes were assessed using the Home Environment Assessment for the Visually Impaired (HEAVI). A single evaluator assessed up to 127 potential hazards in 8 home regions. In the clinic, binocular contrast sensitivity (CS) and better-eye visual acuity (VA) were evaluated, and 24-2 VFs were obtained to calculate average integrated VF (IVF) sensitivity. Main Outcome Measures: Total number of home hazards. Results: No significant visual or demographic differences were noted between participants who did and did not complete the home assessment (P > 0.09 for all measures). Mean age among those completing the home assessment (n = 174) was 71.1 years, and IVF sensitivity ranged from 5.6 to 33.4 dB (mean = 27.2 dB, standard deviation [SD] = 4.0 dB). The mean number of items graded per home was 85.2 (SD = 13.2), and an average of 32.7 (38.3%) were identified as hazards. IVF sensitivity, CS, and VA were not associated with total home hazards or the number of hazards in any given room (P > 0.06 for all visual measures and rooms). The bathroom contained the greatest number of hazards (mean = 7.9; 54.2% of graded items classified as hazardous), and the most common hazards identified in at least 1 room were ambient lighting <300 lux and exposed light bulbs. Only 27.9% of graded rooms had adequate lighting. IVF sensitivity, CS, and VA were not associated with home lighting levels (P > 0.18 for all), but brighter room lighting was noted in the homes of participants with higher median income (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Multiple home fall hazards were identified in the study population, and hazard numbers were not lower for persons with worse VF damage, suggesting that individuals with more advanced glaucoma do not adapt their homes for safety. Further work should investigate whether addressing home hazards is an effective intervention for preventing falls in this high-risk group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOphthalmology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 6 2016

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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