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Vijay Anand, John G. Buckley, Andy Scally, David B. Elliott; Postural Stability in the Elderly during Sensory Perturbations and Dual Tasking: The Influence of Refractive Blur. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(7):2885-2891. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-1031.
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purpose. To determine the influence of refractive blur on postural stability during somatosensory and vestibular system perturbation and dual tasking.
methods. Fifteen healthy, elderly subjects (mean age, 71 ± 5 years), who had no history of falls and had normal vision, were recruited. Postural stability during standing was assessed using a force platform, and was determined as the root mean square (RMS) of the center of pressure (COP) signal in the anterior-posterior (A-P) and medial-lateral directions collected over a 30-second period. Data were collected under normal standing conditions and with somatosensory and vestibular system perturbations. Measurements were repeated with an additional physical and/or cognitive task. Postural stability was measured under conditions of binocular refractive blur of 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 D and with eyes closed. The data were analyzed with a population-averaged linear model.
results. The greatest increases in postural instability were due to disruptions of the somatosensory and vestibular systems. Increasing refractive blur caused increasing postural instability, and its effect was greater when the input from the other sensory systems was disrupted. Performing an additional cognitive and physical task increased A-P RMS COP further. All these detrimental effects on postural stability were cumulative.
conclusions. The findings highlight the multifactorial nature of postural stability and indicate why the elderly, many of whom have poor vision and musculoskeletal and central nervous system degeneration, are at greater risk of falling. The findings also highlight that standing instability in both normal and perturbed conditions was significantly increased with refractive blur. Correcting visual impairment caused by uncorrected refractive error could be a useful intervention strategy to help prevent falls and fall-related injuries in the elderly.
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