Fear of falling in age-related macular degeneration.

Publications // Suzanne Van Landingham // Jan 28 2014

PubMed ID: 24472499

Author(s): van Landingham SW, Massof RW, Chan E, Friedman DS, Ramulu PY. Fear of falling in age-related macular degeneration. BMC Ophthalmol. 2014 Jan 28;14:10. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-14-10. PMID 24472499

Journal: Bmc Ophthalmology, Volume 14, Jan 2014

BACKGROUND Prior studies have shown age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to be associated with falls. The purpose of this study is to determine if (AMD) and AMD-related vision loss are associated with fear of falling, an important and distinct outcome.

METHODS Sixty-five persons with AMD with evidence of vision loss in one or both eyes and 60 glaucoma suspects with normal vision completed the University of Illinois at Chicago Fear of Falling questionnaire. Responses were Rasch analyzed. Scores were expressed in logit units, with lower scores demonstrating lesser ability and greater fear of falling.

RESULTS Compared to glaucoma suspect controls, AMD subjects had worse visual acuity (VA) (median better-eye VA = 20/48 vs. 20/24, p < 0.001) and worse contrast sensitivity (CS) (binocular CS = 1.9 vs. 1.5 log units, p < 0.001). AMD subjects were also older, more likely to be Caucasian, and less likely to be employed (p < 0.05 for all), but were similar with regards to other demographic and health measures. In multivariable models controlling for age, gender, body habitus, strength, and comorbid illnesses, AMD subjects reported greater fear of falling as compared to controls (β = -0.77 logits, 95% CI = -1.5 to -0.002, p = 0.045). In separate multivariable models, fear of falling increased with worse VA (β = -0.15 logits/1 line decrement, 95% CI = -0.28 to -0.03, p = 0.02) and CS (β = -0.20 logits/0.1 log unit decrement, 95% CI = -0.31 to -0.09, p = 0.001). Greater fear of falling was also associated with higher BMI, weaker grip, and more comorbid illnesses (p < 0.05 for all).

CONCLUSIONS AMD and AMD-related vision loss are associated with greater fear of falling in the elderly. Development, validation, and implementation of methods to address falls and fear of falling for individuals with vision loss from AMD are important goals for future work.