Multi-focal Lenses Could Contribute to Falls

From Mcknights – Seniors who wear multifocal prescription glasses could reduce their risk of falling if they switch to a single-focus lens while walking outdoors, new research finds.

Many seniors wear bifocal or multi-focal prescription glasses to help see both close-range and distant objects. Among seniors who spend a lot of time outdoors, these types of lenses could contribute to falls, according to a new British study. Researchers studied 606 seniors aged 65 and older who used such lenses while walking outdoors.

Half the seniors were given single-focus prescription lenses to use while outside. Overall, falls were reduced by 8% among the single-focus lens cohort. There was a 40% reduction among those who were used to walking around outside, but seniors who typically spent their time inside saw an increased risk of falling, suggesting that switching to a single-focus lens might not be a good solution for those seniors.

Perhaps researchers are suggesting that if you wear glasses you wear one pair that is for distance and use them outside and another pair for closeup and use them inside. Makes some sense. I have bifocal contacts and I do give up some distance. So when I am driving I sometimes wear my regular contacts instead and use the bifocal contacts for when I know I will be reading, speaking, performing and need to see words on a page. Might be worth the investment to have a couple of pairs of glasses. Check with your ophthalmologist.