Development and validation of visual impairment as a risk for falls questionnaire

TitleDevelopment and validation of visual impairment as a risk for falls questionnaire
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLabreche, T., K. Nandakumar, M. Althomali, and S. Leat
JournalAge and Ageing
Keywordsaged, Article, central scotoma, controlled study, cross-sectional study, disease course, eye care, eye examination, Fall prevention questionnaire, fall risk, falling, Falls, female, health care personnel, human, literacy, low vision, major clinical study, male, oculo visual assessment, Older people, priority journal, questionnaire, retrospective study, risk factor, screening, sensitivity and specificity, stereoscopic vision, validation study, Vision, visual impairment, Visual Impairment as a Risk for Falls Questionnaire

Purpose: visual impairment is associated with an increased risk of falls, yet eye care professionals are infrequently members of falls prevention clinics. The aim of this preliminary study was to validate a newly created Visual Impairment as a Risk for Falls Questionnaire intended to be used by those professionals not involved in eye care. Methods: about 53 participants with various visual impairments known to be associated with falls and 33 participants with normal sight were contacted within 4 months of a full oculo-visual assessment and were asked the questions from the current questionnaire pertaining to their visual function. A retrospective file review was undertaken and the sensitivity and specificity of participants' responses were calculated compared to the actual vision impairment based on the findings from their visual assessment. Results: the question regarding ability to read was included to identify people with central vision loss, a risk factor for falling. It was found to have sensitivity of 74% and specificity of 87%. Both sensitivity and specificity improved when participants with cognitive impairment were excluded. The question on recognising facial features gave sensitivity of 73% and specificity of 97% for this subgroup. However, questions related to impairments in stereopsis and peripheral fields were not useful. Conclusion: the study demonstrates that several questions of the new questionnaire are useful; however, further testing with a larger population is needed to fully validate the questionnaire for use by health care professionals. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved.