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P. Y. Ramulu, E. Chan, E. Maul, L. Ferrucci, D. S. Friedman; Restriction of Walking in Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):955.
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Individuals with glaucoma complain of difficulty with ambulation, walk more slowly, and have worse balance. We examined whether glaucoma severity is associated with restriction of walking or physical activity.
Subjects with different degrees of glaucomatous visual field loss wore a triaxial accelerometer during all waking hours of their normal daily routine for one week. Measures of physical activity, including steps, energy expenditure, and time spent in moderate or vigorous activity, were assessed to determine if there is an association with activity and the extent of visual field loss.
Seventeen subjects ages 65-77 were evaluated. Subjects walked an average of 34,701 ± 17,013 steps over the study week and spent an average of 495 ± 241 minutes performing moderate or vigorous physical activity. Subjects took 3,430 fewer steps over the study week for every decibel (dB) of visual field worsening in the better-seeing eye (p=0.02, 95% CI=643 to 6,915). After adjusting for age, each dB of visual field worsening was found to be result in 2,915 fewer weekly steps (p=0.05, 95% CI= 75 to 5,755). Worse visual field loss was not associated with less activity-related energy consumption (38 fewer kcal/week/dB, p=0.75) or less time spent in moderate or vigorous activity (34 fewer minutes/week/dB, p=0.11).
This small pilot study found substantial differences in the amount of walking performed by individuals with different amounts of better-eye VF damage. Individuals with glaucoma may restrict the amount they walk as a result of poor balance and/or fear of falling.
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