Tag Archives: independence

Trips and falls blog header

Unfortunately, trips and falls can be a common occurrence for the elderly population – in fact, falls are the most common cause of hospitalisation for over-65s in the UK, with one in three experiencing a fall every year.

The likelihood of impaired vision increases significantly with age, meaning that older people are more likely to experience trips and falls, even with carers present. 

The way we see it is fundamental to coordinating our balance and stability and how we move around. 

When vision is impaired, negotiating obstacles or stairs becomes much more challenging, impacting how safely residents can move around unaided.

Regular sight testing can play a crucial part in preventing falls by detecting and appropriately treating visual impairment instances. 

In contrast, regular visits from an optometrist can provide both patients and carers with helpful advice.

We’ve highlighted just a few ways that regular sight testing can help residents remain steady on their feet and feel confident travelling safely around their home environment.

Discovering and understanding conditions

Suppose a patient is experiencing trips and falls more often than usual or appears unsteady on their feet. In that case, they may be experiencing a sight loss condition. 

Only a sight test with an optometrist can distinguish what the case might be. Several common eye health issues can affect sight and directly contribute to falls.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) creates a gap in the central vision, while glaucoma blurs the peripheral vision, creating a ‘tunnel vision’ effect and blocking obstacles from view. 

Cataracts create an overall blurry vision, making it hard to identify where hazards might be, while a case of diabetic retinopathy can cause multiple gaps or black spots in the vision. 

A rarer condition that can also affect mobility is Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which can distort how rooms look and make it difficult for a resident to move around confidently and safely.

Any one of these common conditions could affect how a patient sees the world and how they move around, so a regular eye test can help monitor conditions and understand what possible issues a patient might be experiencing.

Helping carers adapt their care.

A regular sight test can uncover these common conditions, but that’s not all. 

Armed with the knowledge of the issues a patient might be experiencing, carers can easily understand their patient’s needs and adapt their care routines to suit.

Perhaps a patient needs more assistance travelling around the home, or help with basic tasks such as bathing or dressing, to lower the risk of falling. 

If their central vision is affected, they may struggle with specific tasks. In contrast, damage to their peripheral vision may make specific tasks more hazardous, like moving unaided around the home or taking the stairs.

Regular sight tests and advice from optometrists can ensure that carers can provide the right care and support for each patient, limiting their risks and helping them feel confident.

Prescribing appropriate spectacles

A regular sight test detects underlying conditions, monitors existing conditions, and assesses the patient’s changing needs. 

Having an up-to-date prescription and wearing the right glasses is crucial in lowering the chance of experiencing a fall.

Sight tests will determine the quality of the patient’s vision and assess any changes, allowing the optometrist to prescribe suitable spectacles, even if that means separate spectacles for different tasks. 

The optometrist can provide advice and guidance on which pair should be worn for which activities. Include this information on the patient’s Visioncall Lifestyle Passport for easy reference whenever a carer or manager needs it. 

This will allow the care team to ensure that residents are wearing the right glasses and have the correct prescription, lowering their probability of tripping or falling and helping them feel safer and more independent every day.

If you are concerned about changes in your vision and eye health or a resident or relative, please don’t hesitate to contact Visioncall for guidance.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Winter eye health blog

You might already know that your eyes need a little extra care in the summer months, but did you know that they need just as much attention in the winter? 

With plummeting temperatures, snow and ice, dark evenings and artificial heating on in our homes, it’s no wonder that this season can play havoc with our eyes.

Here are some easy-to-follow tips to help keep your eyes healthy and bright this winter:

1 – Keep eyes moisturized

The combination of chilly temperatures and central heating can leave your eyes feeling sore and dry. 

To keep eyes moist and reduce irritation, use eye drops, or place a warm, damp cloth over closed eyes to ease soreness.

You can also lower the temperature on your central heating, use a humidifier to bring moisture back into the room, or most straightforward of all, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

2 – Vary your activities

We tend to stay indoors much more during winter, which means we’re more likely to spend the day in one place, watching TV, reading or doing close-focus work like knitting. 

Concentrating like this for more extended periods means we blink less often, which can cause dry eyes. 

Remember to blink frequently, and practice the 20x20x20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds) to restore moisture to the eyes.

3 – Use the right lighting

Good lighting is essential in the home, especially in winter, when natural light is significantly lower. 

Dull, dim lighting can cause eye strain, headaches and redness.

Keep the curtains open as much as possible, and use multiple light sources around the room, increase light without relying on an overhead light, and shading the bulbs so that you’re not looking directly at them. 

If reading or writing, use a desk lamp with directed light to limit eye strain.

4 – Wear sunglasses

Yes, even in winter! The sun sitting lower, snowfall and ice can all create reflective surfaces that bounce UV rays around, so it’s vital to shield your eyes. 

Glasses with polarized lenses can help with this, to protect your eyes when the light is low.

5 – Eat for your eyes

Generally, we need more vitamins and minerals in winter, to aid in good overall health, but this is especially true for eyes. 

A diet packed with the right ingredients can all support eye health, helping you to stay bright-eyed this winter. 

Try filling your plate with things like salmon, tuna and oily fish, green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts and beans, and plenty of citrus fruits to keep your eyes healthy, moisturized and in tip-top condition. 

Remember to drink plenty of water too!

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Nine eye health signs blog image

We’re all taking more responsibility for our health than ever before, but for many, you may also be doing this for your elderly relatives. 

While most of us know the signs to look out for with many health conditions, we understand that you might not be so familiar with eye health conditions.

While regular check-ups are being disrupted like everything else at the moment, we want to help you take care of your vision and eye health, and that of those around you who might be at higher risk of issues developing. 

These are the signs to look out for, to know when additional or urgent care may be needed.

1 – No longer enjoying their hobbies

Have they started showing less interest in activities they usually enjoy, such as reading, knitting, or watching television or do they seem to be struggling with them? 

It might be that their prescription is no longer suitable, so it’s worth checking that they can still see the things they enjoy.

2 – Showing less interest in food

If your relative seems less interested in eating, or if they regularly only eat half of their plate of food, this may be a sign that sight loss is partially clouding their vision.

3 – Increased anxiety or reluctance to socialise

If they’re usually the life and soul, or love going out for a walk, and now no longer seem keen, it may be that their vision isn’t as clear as it used to be. 

Similarly, unexplained bumps and bruises may signify that they’re struggling to see clearly and may be afraid of trips and falls.

4 – Dust and dirt on the walls

Does your relative see dust and dirt on the walls or dark marks in the sky? If you can’t see them, this may be a sign that they’re experiencing floaters. 

Floaters are generally harmless, but if they persist, can be a sign of an underlying health condition and may need to be checked out.

5 – Changes in vision

Complaining that things look blurred or misty, or that their glasses are dirty (even when they’re not) may be a sign of cataracts developing. 

Similarly, feeling that lights are too bright or that colours look faded can also indicate possible cataracts.

6 – Seeing rainbows

Glaucoma is a condition that develops gradually and is often only picked up during an eye test, but symptoms include seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights or reporting blurred vision.

7 – Sudden changes or extreme symptoms

In some cases, glaucoma can come on suddenly and required urgent treatment. 

If your loved one is experiencing nausea, vomiting, a headache, red eyes or eye tenderness, you should request urgent treatment at A&E or call 111.

8 – Hallucinations and altered vision

Macular degeneration is another condition to be aware of, with symptoms including blurred vision; seeing black spots in the centre of their vision; seeing straight lines as wavy; objects appearing smaller or duller than they used to, or even experiencing hallucinations.

9 – Extreme changes in vision

If your loved one reports a ‘curtain’ or shadow moving across their vision, or if they complain of double vision, light sensitivity, distorted vision or red and painful eyes, it’s recommended to call 111 or visit A&E for urgent treatment.

If you’re concerned about a friend, relative or patient’s vision or eye health, get in touch to make an appointment.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Jeans Story Blog

At Visioncall, we believe that looking after our eyes is incredibly important. We’re proud to be able to make a difference to our patients’ lives every day. 

But occasionally, a story comes to us that shows us all over again the impact that our work has, not only on the patient themselves, but their families, or carers that are with them around the clock.

One such story is Jean, an 85-year-old resident at Cherry Lodge care home in Birmingham, who underwent lifechanging cataract surgery in 2019. 

We spoke to Jean’s carer, Lauren, who experienced first-hand the difference that Visioncall made to Jean’s life and made her, in Lauren’s words, “a whole new woman.”

When Jean arrived at Cherry Lodge, she was almost entirely blind and required 24-hour one-to-one support.

The impact of reduced vision

“When Jean first came here, she couldn’t see at all,” explains Lauren. 

“She couldn’t see shadows; she couldn’t see if you placed your hand in front of her face – she just couldn’t see a thing. She was very timid and withdrawn.”

It was particularly sad for Jean to lose her sight, as she’d been an avid reader. “Jean used to meet her sister in Birmingham city centre every Thursday, and that they’d go to the library together,” says Lauren. 

“But that all stopped when her sister died. Jean sometimes says that she thinks her eyesight went downhill because she read too much.”

After she arrived at Cherry Lodge, Jean was diagnosed with dementia, which made things more complicated: “Jean would insist that she could see,” explains Lauren. 

“When her dementia was at its worst, she would say things like ‘I’m not blind – I don’t know what you’re talking about, I can see everything’. She was in complete denial.”

Carers were concerned, so they asked Visioncall to visit Jean and make a professional diagnosis. 

Person-centred eye care

Vic Khurana, Visioncall’s lead optometrist, diagnosed Jean with bilateral cataracts and inflamed eyelids and referred her to her GP and a specialist eye hospital in Birmingham. 

Within a week, Jean had an appointment for cataract surgery.

“The surgery was amazing,” says Lauren. “I was allowed to be in the operating room with Jean. When it was done, Jean looked at me, straight in my eyes, and asked how I was! She could see me straight away.”

The changes didn’t stop there. “Coming home with her that day, she didn’t hold my hand – she walked into the building on her own. This was only one eye that had been treated at this stage, and she’d never seen the building before, she didn’t know where her room was, but she walked straight in.

“She began using the bathroom on her own and eating her food by herself – we didn’t need to help her with anything. She got her independence back that day, and it was lifechanging – for Jean, of course, but also for the staff.”

See better, live better

Lauren is adamant that it was Cherry Lodge’s partnership with Visioncall that turned Jean’s life around, saying: “I think if Jean had been here at Cherry Lodge sooner, her eyesight and her independence would never have been so badly affected because Visioncall would have been there to help her before it got to that stage. 

Visioncall is brilliant; they understand the needs of a care home, the needs of residents, and the needs of people with demand. It’s such a good service.”

These days, Jean is very much enjoying her new lease of life, with a return to reading her favourite books, and a newfound love of television and socialising with her fellow residents.

“I honestly think that this experience will be something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lauren says. 

“I’ve never seen such a turnaround on somebody before, how something so small can make such a difference. It helped Jean so much; it has changed her whole life.”

If you’re concerned about a friend, relative or patient’s vision or eye health, get in touch to make an appointment.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Eyesight, vision, eye care

Falls prevention through eye care can benefit a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing.

As our vision naturally deteriorates as we age, decreased vision or sight loss can increase a person’s risk of falls.

Additionally, dementia can also lead to an increase in the risk of falls.

How can eye care help to prevent falls?

Falls prevention is possible through enhancing or maintaining vision with the help of eye care.

Eye care can help to maintain vision and help enable a person to navigate the world around them safely.

Better vision can help a person to see obstructions, steps or anything else that may increase their risk of falling.

How can I look after my eyes?

Visioncall Daily Eye Care Guide

Visioncall Daily Eye Care Guide highlights steps to help maintain or improve vision

An essential part of eye care includes having a regular sight test and receiving a correct prescription.

However, you can only feel the benefit of a correct prescription by wearing your most recent pair of glasses.

If you have two pairs of glasses for distance and near vision, it’s easy to get confused.

So, to identify the correct glasses, we engrave each pair of glasses that we produce.

Did you know that wearing glasses with an older prescription can increase a person’s risk of falls, rather than prevent falls?

How can a fall affect someone?

Falls can be dangerous or even life-threatening, which is why it’s crucial to reduce the risk of falls.

Moreover, a fall or the fear of falling can damage a person’s confidence, self-esteem and even their independence.

As a result, it can discourage the individual from being mobile or participating in the world around them.

Lack of engagement and movement can result in depression, isolation, bedsores and sore joints.

These situations are often avoidable through proactively using eye care to reduce a person’s risk of falls.

For the latest news and updates from Visioncall, stay posted here on our company blog and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.