Insight into falls prevention programmes for people with visual impairments and intellectual disabilities: A scoping review

Lotte Enkelaar*, Mathilde Overbeek, Evelien van Wingerden, Ellen Smulders, Paula Sterkenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The aim of this study was to review the current literature on falls prevention in people with visual impairment and to estimate the applicability of methods of fall prevention for people with visual impairment and intellectual disability. A scoping review was performed according to the Arksey and O’Malley framework. Relevant studies were collected from PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). All records covering the time span from January 1980 until November 2017 were collected. Studies were included if the participants had a visual impairment according to objective ophthalmic assessments, the article described interventions to reduce falls or risk factors for falls, and the study was written in English and published in a peer-reviewed journal. The methodological quality of the studies were determined by consensus of the authors on the PEDro scale. Fifteen articles were included in this scoping review. Three articles focused on screening and intervention programmes, five articles addressed the effectiveness of environmental adjustments, and seven articles involved training programmes for physical improvement. Environmental adjustments emerged as having the best evidence for falls prevention for people with a visual impairment. Physical training programmes improved balance in those with a visual impairment but could not reduce the number of falls. Environmental adjustments also may be effective for persons with a visual impairment and intellectual disability. In addition, multifactorial screening and intervention programmes are recommended as an important new research direction with important clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Falls prevention
  • intellectual disabilities
  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • scoping review
  • visual impairment


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