Falls, Bone and Joint Injuries, and Vision Status Among Adult Women Respondents to the 2008 National Health Interview Survey

Friday, 26 July 2013: 8:30 AM

Nancy C. Sharts-Hopko, PhD, RN, FAAN
College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Learning Objective 1: 1. Describe the scope of the problem of low vision and blindness among the Boomer generation in developed countries;

Learning Objective 2: 2. Define the need for prevention strategies related to falls and fractures among women with no vision and low vision.

Purpose: Vision status, falls and injuries were examined among adult women participants in the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).  Nursing research has not focused on visual impairment, though marked increase in low vision and blindness is anticipated as the Boomer generation ages.  The Capability Framework of Sen and Nussbaum provides a perspective of the well-being of persons with disabilities in terms of their functioning considering the freedoms that people have to enjoy the kind of life they value. 

Methods: A descriptive design entailed sample analysis of data from 12,267 women.  Data were collected by US Census workers during home interviews using a complex probabilistic sampling design.  Using SPSS 20.0 chi square analyses were performed and odds ratios were calculated to assess relative risk of fall and musculoskeletal injury among women reporting no vision loss, low vision, or blindness. 

Results: Women with no vision and low vision reported increased likelihood of falls within the past year, falls at least once per month, injury as a result of a fall in the past year, and falling due to tripping or stumbling, slipping, not seeing, or having had a problem with a walker, cane or other aid.  No vision women were more likely to report than low vision women. Women with no vision and low vision reported significantly increased likelihood of fracture or joint injury that restricts activity, functional limitation from all conditions, musculoskeletal problems reducing activity, chronic bone or joint injury, and a chronic musculoskeletal problem, with no vision women being more likely to report than low vision women.

Conclusion: Impaired vision is associated with falls and with injury which may be chronic.  Given the anticipated increase in the incidence of low vision and blindness as Boomers age, strategies to reduce risk of fall and injury among women with no vision or low vision is need to be tested.