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Safety and Functionality Eye Research (SAFER)

The SAFER research team SAFER team members at the Wilmer Eye Institute.

What is SAFER?


People with visual impairment are at high risk for falls and have greater difficulty with the activities of daily living than their normal-sighted counterparts. They are also more likely to require a move to assisted-living facilities.


The SAFER team is trying to understand how the home environment affects a person’s fall risk and functionality at home. Home modifications can be an effective strategy to improve safety since we spend most of our time in our homes and thus are more likely to fall there. The SAFER team will determine what environmental features lower the risk for falls and make activities of daily living easier in the home.


SAFER is actively recruiting and evaluating study participants! Those enrolled are asked to participate in the study over a period of roughly 24 months.


The SAFER study is recruiting participants living within the 60 miles from Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore City.


This research benefits all persons with decreased vision due to glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Our findings will ultimately help aging individuals with visual impairment live safely and independently for a longer time in the comfort of their homes.


Funding: National Eye Institute - EY022976; Research to Prevent Blindness

See description of the study on the NIH website

Research Findings

In our prior research of 245 participants with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma (average age of 71 years), we found that our participants were most likely to fall inside of their homes and that most falls were reported on the indoor stairs and in the bedroom. The most commonly reported fall circumstances were tripping, slipping, uneven flooring and poor vision.

During home evaluation, the largest number of environmental hazards were found in the bathroom or on the indoor stairs of our study participants’ homes. Among evaluated hazards, inadequate light was the most pervasive one in different areas of the homes and our research showed that better lighting was related to a lower rate of falls.  

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Phone: 410-705-2771

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