Falling and the fear of falling in people with glaucoma

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Professor Rupert Bourne
  • Institute: Anglia Ruskin University
  • Region: East of England
  • Start date: April 2015
  • End Date: September 2015
  • Priority: Quality of Life
  • Eye Category: Glaucoma


Advanced glaucoma is linked to losing side (peripheral) vision, which in turn affects the risk of falling. People with glaucoma report trouble with walking, getting up and down steps and with adapting to different lighting. Many people also report having a fear of falling.

Research shows a strong link between having a fear of falling and then going on to actually fall. So it’s possible that the risk of falling could spiral in people with glaucoma, if falling leads to fear which leads to more falling.

So in this study the team will compare two groups of people with glaucoma, who either do or don’t have a debilitating fear of falling. The team will precisely measure how participants move about while doing everyday tasks. They’ll also test balance, do a range of sight tests and will relate the results to the person’s level of fear.

Results from the study should allow clinicians to give people with glaucoma advice on what to be aware of to reduce the risk of falling. In turn this should lead to a more positive spiral.