Curtin University will soon be part of a research project that could help make life safer for people with cataracts.
Dr Lynn Meuleners, Director and Associate Professor at the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (C-MARC), said research into the risk of falls and fall-related injuries among cataract patients could have significant health benefits.
People with cataracts are currently three times more at risk of suffering potentially dangerous falls, than those without. Falls incurred more than $1 billion in treatment, disability, lost output and death each year in Australia.
“As falls impact a large proportion of older people, especially those with cataracts, it is important that we make fall prevention a critical consideration in how we manage cataracts and cataract surgery,” Dr Meuleners said.
“This research project will measure the rate of falls and falls requiring medical attention before, between, and after first and second eye cataract surgery.
“If we find a link between reduced number of falls and the timing of second eye surgery, the study could provide much needed evidence for prioritisation and timing of surgeries, which would significantly impact ophthalmology practices within the public hospital system.
“The findings will also allow older adults waiting for second eye surgery to be appropriately advised of potential difficulties they could experience regarding falls and physical activity levels, and assist them in making an informed decision on undergoing second eye surgery.”
The research is supported by a three-year National Health and Medical Research Council grant worth $750,000.
The research is a collaboration between C-MARC, The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Flinders University, The University of Western Australia and University of New South Wales and will commence in September 2013.