Don't fall for it

Making the most of your eyesight

Page last updated: 06 May 2011

Your eyes not only allow you to see obstacles and judge steps, they help you to keep your balance.

But from the age of 40, your eyesight gradually worsens and this can lead to an increased risk of falling. By the age of 65 we all need three times more light to see than we did at 20 and our eyes:

  • Take longer to adjust to sudden changes in light and dark.
  • Are more sensitive to glare.
  • Are less able to judge distance and depth, for example on steps.
It is important for safety, as well as daily activities, to make the most of your eyesight.

What you can do:
  • Have your eyesight and glasses checked by an optometrist at least once every two years and yearly by your doctor.
  • If you notice changes in your eyesight, make an appointment with your doctor or optometrist. Early detection of eye problems can stop them getting worse.
  • Keep your glasses clean and always wear the correct glasses - reading glasses are for reading and distance glasses are for walking around.
  • Take extra care on steps if you wear bifocals or multi-focals - they can make it difficult to judge where to put your feet.
  • Wear sun glasses and a hat outside.
  • Avoid sudden changes in light. If you go from light to dark, or the other way around, stop and give your eyes time to adjust before moving.
  • Refer to the lighting section of this booklet (page 14) for ideas about things you can do in and around your home.

Where you can find more help or advice:
  • Vision Australia
  • Occupational therapists (OT) (Commonwealth Carelink or OT Australia can provide details of services in your area)
  • Optometrists Association Australia
See page 29 for contact details.