Characterizing Longitudinal Changes in Physical Activity and Fear of Falling after Falls in Glaucoma

E. Jian-Yu, Aleksandra Mihailovic, Jennifer A. Schrack, Tianjing Li, David S. Friedman, Sheila K. West, Laura N. Gitlin, Pradeep Y. Ramulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Older adults with visual impairments experience a higher risk of falling, and are more vulnerable to adverse health consequences associated with falls than those with normal vision. This study characterizes longitudinal changes in objectively measured physical activity and fear of falling (FoF) occurring after various types of falls in visually impaired older adults. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Hospital-based enrollment. Participants: People with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma. Measurements: Falls were defined as unintentionally coming to rest on the ground or a lower level, and injurious falls were determined though follow-up calls. Study participants were categorized into three groups–fallers with injurious consequences, fallers without injurious consequences, and non-fallers based on fall status in the first year. Physical activity was assessed by waist-bound accelerometer. FoF was evaluated by questionnaire, with Rasch modeling generating FoF scores where higher scores reflected worse FoF. The 3-year longitudinal changes of physical activity and FoF were modeled using mixed-effects models. Results: In linear models fully adjusted for visual field damage and other covariates, physical activity among injurious fallers showed greater annual (per year) declines in daily steps (−425 steps/d, 95% confidence interval (CI) = −793, −57), daily active minutes (−13 min/d, 95% CI = −21, −6), and daily moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) minutes (−3 MVPA minutes/d, 95% CI = −5, 0) over the 3-year period as compared to non-fallers; however, physical activity did not significantly decline among non-injurious fallers. No longitudinal increases in FoF scores were observed in injurious or non-injurious fallers when compared to non-fallers. Conclusion: Among visually impaired older adults, injurious falls identified prospectively over 12 months contributed to a significant decline in physical activity over a 3-year period, while minimal changes were observed in FoF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1256
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • activity
  • falls
  • injury
  • mobility
  • vision impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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