Comparison of balance in older people with and without visual impairment

This journal article from Age and Ageing is a scientific study that compared the balance activity of elderly people with and without visual impairment. The authors found that people with visual disability had an impaired balance ability. This imply that people with visual impairment might be more prone to falls.

Objective: a cross-sectional study was used to compare the balance ability of older people with and without visual impairment.

Setting: Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Jockey Club Rehabilitation Complex and the Pok Oi Hospital Jockey Club care and attention homes for aged individuals.

Subjects: a total of 66 subjects, 65 years of age and older were divided into three groups based on their degree of visual impairment.

Methods: the directional Es chart was used to test the subjects’ visual acuity. Functional balance ability was measured using the Berg balance scale. Demographic characteristics and baseline variables such as lower extremity range of motion, muscle strength, and joint pain was assessed and compared between the groups.

Results: 66 older adults (43 women, 23 men) aged 69–94 years of age participated in the study. The one-way ANOVA showed that the mean Berg balance scores were signiWcantly different (F(2,63)=19.19, P<0.001). Post hoc tests showed that the group with no visual impairment had higher mean balance scores than the group with mild visual impairment (P=0.04) and those with moderate visual impairment (P<0.001). The balance scores for the group with mild visual impairment were also shown to be significantly difference from those of the group with moderate visual

impairment (P=0.003). Control of factors related to balance, such as range of motion, pain and strength, did not affect the analysis of variance analyses.

Conclusions: balance was shown to be more impaired with greater visual impairment, which could result in falls and resultant injury. The findings suggest that early intervention to improve visual acuity in older people may be important.

Date: 02/06/2003
Organization: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Only for Members: No
Content type: Scientific publications
Tags: adults, journals, low vision, sensory disabilities, visually impaired
Categories: Skills, Daily living, Medical & Functions, Other