June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
Yoga Reduces Fall Risk Factors in Persons with Visual Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Olukemi Adeyemo
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Amelie Francoise Nkodo
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Marilyn Corson
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Crystal Roach
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Steffany Haaz Moonaz
    Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, MD
  • Gislin Dagnelie
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Pamela E Jeter
    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
    Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, MD
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Olukemi Adeyemo, None; Amelie Nkodo, None; Marilyn Corson, None; Crystal Roach, None; Steffany Moonaz, None; Gislin Dagnelie, None; Pamela Jeter, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 2125. doi:
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      Olukemi Adeyemo, Amelie Francoise Nkodo, Marilyn Corson, Crystal Roach, Steffany Haaz Moonaz, Gislin Dagnelie, Pamela E Jeter; Yoga Reduces Fall Risk Factors in Persons with Visual Impairment. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2125.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: Persons with visual impairment (VI) are at risk for falls due to the loss of visual input to balance. In addition to VI and age, modifiable risk factors for falls include psychological well-being, “fear of falling” (FOF), and fitness. Yoga is a mind-body practice composed of physical postures, breathing and meditation and is known for its beneficial effects on mood disturbances and fitness. The present pilot study evaluated the effects of an Ashtanga-based Yoga Therapy (AYT) program on FOF, mood and fitness in those with VI.

Methods: Sixteen legally blind participants were randomized to an 8-week AYT program (n = 8, mean (SD) age = 51 (13); 3 M) or waitlist control (n=8, mean (SD) age = 53 (10), 3 M). AYT subjects convened for one group session per week with an instructor and were asked to perform two home-based practice sessions per week for a total of 8 weeks. Primary outcomes included the Illinois FOF measure and the Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMS-SF) surveys, administered before and after the intervention. Fitness measures included the Chair Sit and Reach Test (CSRT) and the 30-second Chair Stand (30s-CS) test. The 30s-CS test assesses lower body strength while the CSRT assesses flexibility. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) determined between-group differences post-intervention while controlling for baseline.

Results: There were no significant differences between the two groups at baseline for all variables, including age (all p>0.05). After adjusting for baseline, comparing the AYT group to controls, there was a significant improvement on post-intervention global POMS-SF [F(1,13)=7.54, p=0.02], as well as a significant reduction on the POMS-SF fatigue subscale [F(1,13)=6.29, p=0.03] and the POMS-SF tension subscale [F(1,13)=4.29, p=0.05]. No significant results were found for FOF, likely due to ceiling effects. Significant improvement in fitness was noted for the CSRT [(1,13)=5.76, p=0.03]; and a trend was noted for the 30s-CS [2.78, p=0.11].

Conclusions: These preliminary results establish the potential for the AYT to improve risk factors for falls, such as mood and fitness in a VI population. Improvement in the fitness measures may help reduce falls by improving lower body strength and improving gait from better flexibility. Measuring falls in a prospective study in the future may help determine the potential of the AYT as a multifactorial approach for the aging VI population at risk for falls.


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