Tag Archives: risk factors

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.

 

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.

Eye sight health tips

We can take our eyesight for granted, and when minor issues arise, we know what to do: book an appointment for a sight test. 

But what happens when a sight test isn’t available?

For those aged 65 and over, regular eye health check-ups are an essential part of maintaining personal independence and quality of life and acting as a way of managing underlying health concerns – such as diabetes, strokes, and cancers.

While sight tests may only be available for emergencies and urgent care under current COVID-19 restrictions, that doesn’t mean your vision and eye health should suffer.

As one of the UK’s leading eye care providers in the care home sector, Visioncall wants to ensure that you’re equipped with the information you need. 

Our expert optometrists have shared their top 10 tips to help you understand the little things you can do daily to look after your eyesight for the long term.

Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet

Eating plenty of fruit and veg is essential for a healthy body. A balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals can help protect your eyes against conditions such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration.

Choose Protective Eyewear 

Wearing glasses with a built-in UV filter can help protect against cataracts developing, as even the winter sun’s rays can be harsh on the eyes.

Stop Smoking

Smoking increases your chances of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as many other health issues, so it’s best to quit the habit altogether.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against diabetes, which can lead to sight loss. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and trying to stay active can help you achieve this.

Let The Light In

Did you know that our eyes need three times as much light aged 60 as they did at 20? Keep your home bright and light by keeping the curtains open during the day and ensuring appropriate lighting. Daylight bulbs are an excellent investment to keep the house as bright as possible.

Stay Active

Regular exercise, good circulation and oxygen intake are essential for eye health, so try and stay active as much as possible and get outdoors as much as you can. Keeping windows open can also help you access plenty of fresh air during the day.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleeping is when your eyes are lubricated and cleared out, so a restful night’s sleep is essential. Aim for eight hours a night, and ensure your room is dark enough to aid a night of good, deep sleep.

Check Your Eyesight Regularly

Checking your eyesight individually – or ‘monocularly’ – is an excellent way of comparing the vision in both eyes. Cover each eye in turn with the palm of your hand and pay attention to the level of detail you can see in each eye. Many people don’t notice that sight in one eye has deteriorated significantly, as your ‘good eye’ compensates for it.

Take Screen Breaks

Try and keep your screens at eye level and around 40cm from your face, and every five minutes, look away from your screen and blink a few times. Follow the 20x20x20 rule, too; every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away.

Check Your Prescription Regularly

If you wear glasses or lenses, check that you’ve got the correct prescription to prevent eye strain.

We hope these tips will help you maintain excellent eye health, but if you have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist.

We hope these tips will help you maintain great eye health, but if you do have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist.

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

How Often Should I Have My Eyes Tested, Eye Test

It’s essential to have a sight test – but it’s also vital to know how often you should have a sight test.

Did you know that while sight is the sense that most of us would least like to lose, we visit the dentist more than the optician?

How often should I have a sight test?

You should have a sight test every two years, as advised by your optician.

This is also known as having a regular sight test.

However, depending on your eye health risk factors, your optician may recommend having a sight test more frequently than every two years.

Your risk factors include:

⚫️ Age – as our eyesight and eye health naturally deteriorate with age, we become more likely to develop an eye condition.

⚫️ Family history – as your background may increase your risk of developing certain eye conditions or hereditary eye condition.

⚫️ Lifestyle – as your eye health can be affected by your diet and smoking or drinking amongst a few other things.

As a result, if you’re over 65, your optician should advise that you have a yearly sight test.

A regular sight test is beneficial to help diagnose an eye health condition as early as possible.

Such eye conditions may include cataractsglaucomaage-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

You can help to look after your eyes between visits to the optician with Visioncall’s daily eye care guide.

What should I do if I notice a change in my eyesight?

If you experience new symptoms or notice a change in your vision, you should visit your local optician.

For instance, visual disturbances, eye strain, squinting and dry eyes are common visual changes which may require a new prescription.

Your eyesight can change regardless of whether or not you currently wear glasses.

However, if you experience redness or pain in your eye you should make an urgent appointment with your optician.

Where can I get my eyes tested?

If you’re able to visit the high street optician, you should book a sight test with your local optician.

However, remember to attend your appointment!

You can search for your local optician here if you live in England, or here if you live in Scotland.

Am I eligible for a free NHS sight test?

You can check if you’re eligible for a free NHS sight test here across England, Scotland and Wales.

To find out if you’re eligible for an NHS free sight test in England, click here.

To find out if you’re eligible for an NHS free sight test in Wales, click here.

In Scotland, everyone is eligible for a free NHS sight test.

You can also check your eligibility for a free NHS mobile sight test across the UK here.

Visioncall’s eye care service

Visioncall specialises in delivering mobile sight tests, especially within the care home sector.

Our person-centred eye care service can help those who need it most to see better and live better.

A sight test and eye care can help to maintain a person’s independence and also reduce their risk of falls.

So, if your loved one could benefit from a home sight test, contact your local Visioncall practice today!

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

It's All In Your Family History

Eye conditions become more common as we age and it’s all in your family history!

Your family history of eye health helps you know what to keep an eye out for.

For example, ethnicity is an important part of your family history as it affects your risk of certain eye conditions.

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent are more likely to develop a common eye condition than other groups of our society.

So, it’s worth paying attention to your family’s eye health so you know what to look out for!

It’s also important to attend your regular sight test to increase the chance of early detection of an eye condition.

Usually, the earlier an eye condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to successfully treat or reduce further deterioration.

Who does my family history include?

When your optician asks about your family history of eye health, remember to mention your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

Inheriting our parents’ eyes

Eye colour isn’t the only thing that we inherit from our parents!

We can also inherit a number of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataract and astigmatism.

Knowing your family history is especially important if you’re a parent and your child is having a sight test. Please provide as much information as possible to your child’s optometrist.

Your family history tells an optician which common eye conditions you’re more likely to develop.

A regular sight test monitors symptoms and progression of any eye conditions.

Your optician will tell you when your next sight test is due. This is determined by your risk factors, including your family history.

It’s important to follow your optician’s advice as well as looking after your eyes on a daily basis.

Common eye conditions and ethnicity

People of Asian or Afro-Caribbean origin are more likely to develop a common eye condition than people of different origins.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

The Afro-Caribbean population have a greater risk of AMD under the age of 60 compared with the Caucasian population.

On the other hand, those of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop AMD over the age of 60 compared with those of Afro-Caribbean origin.

Cataract

Those from an Asian background are more likely to develop cataract compared with those from an Afro-Caribbean or Caucasian background.

Glaucoma

People of Afro-Caribbean heritage are 4 to 8 times more likely to develop glaucoma than those of Caucasian heritage.

Diabetic retinopathy

People of Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin have a greater risk of diabetic retinopathy compared with people of Caucasian origin.

However, those of Asian heritage are 3 times more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than those of Caucasian heritage.

Refractive error

While a refractive error isn’t an eye condition, it is a common eye disorder.

It occurs when the shape of the eye can’t focus light rays correctly.

People of Caucasian origin are more likely to develop a refractive error than people of Afro-Caribbean origin.

The importance of daily eye care

Looking after your eyes between visits to your optician is crucial.

Daily eye care can help to keep your eyes otherwise healthy, especially if your family history means you have a greater risk of an eye condition.

While healthy eyes may not prevent an eye condition, they may help to delay the onset or progression of an eye condition.

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

Protecting Eyes From UV Light

There’s more to protecting eyes from UV light than meets the eye!

As UV light isn’t just exclusive to summer, it’s crucial to understand how to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays.

What is UV light?

Ultraviolet light (UV light) is a type of radiation that is invisible to the naked eye.

Radiation is the movement and transfer of energy or heat through objects.

Many objects emit radiation, from light bulbs and mobile phones to microwaves and the sun.

Background radiation is the term for the low levels of radiation that are all around us.

On the other hand, nuclear power plants create vast amounts of radiation, but the reactor typically safely contains this.

If a nuclear reactor is severely damaged, radiation can escape and harm the environment around it – such as with Fukushima and Chernobyl.

How to protect your eyes from UV light

Our eyes are more sensitive to UV light than our skin is, so actively safeguarding eyes from UV light is vital.

Longer daylight hours and sunny weather bring an increase in UV exposure from the sun.

Prolonged exposure to UV rays without appropriate eye protection can be harmful to our eyes.

You don’t have to be looking directly at the sun for UV light to enter your eyes.

However, we strongly advise that you don’t look directly at the sun as this can also cause severe damage to the eye.

Overexposure to UV light has been linked to developing certain eye conditions such as cataract and macular degeneration.

Additionally, overexposure has been linked to both temporary and permanent sight loss.

So, sunglasses are more than a fashion statement – they’re essential to protect our eyes from harmful UV light.

A few things to consider when buying sunglasses

Close-fitting wraparound sunglasses provide the best protection as they reduce how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes from above and around your lenses.

When buying sunglasses always look out for the CE, UV 400 or British Standard markings as they indicate a safe level of protection for your eyes.

While some contact lenses provide UV protection, they don’t cover your whole eye, so you still need sunglasses.

Whether you’re travelling to work or on holiday, remember to wear sunglasses to reduce the UV exposure to your eyes.

Visioncall Daily Eye Care Guide

Wearing sunglasses is just one of a our daily eye care steps

Sunglasses aren’t just for sunny days

Did you know that our eyes need protection from UV light even when the sun isn’t out?

Surprisingly, the risk of UV exposure can be quite high even on overcast days because UV rays can penetrate clouds.

Eyes also need protection from UV rays that reflect from surfaces into the eye.

Sunglasses can protect your eyes from UV light in ‘high glare areas’ such as near snow or water.

Consequently, you should remember to wear sunglasses even when you’re in the shade, as the UV rays will be reflecting from buildings, roads and other surfaces!

However, you don’t have to fear sunny days or being outdoors!

Just remember to equip the correct eye and skin protection to reduce your exposure to UV light.

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