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Regina A. de Luna, Aleksandra Mihailovic, Angeline M. Nguyen, David S. Friedman, Laura N. Gitlin, Pradeep Y. Ramulu; The Association of Glaucomatous Visual Field Loss and Balance. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2017;6(3):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.6.3.8.
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To relate balance measures to visual field (VF) damage from glaucoma.
The OPAL kinematic system measured balance, as root mean square (RMS) sway, on 236 patients with suspect/diagnosed glaucoma. Balance was measured with feet shoulder width apart while standing on a firm/foam surface with eyes opened/closed (Instrumental Clinical Test of Sensory Integration and Balance [ICTSIB] conditions), and eyes open on a firm surface under feet together, semi-tandem, or tandem positions (standing balance conditions). Integrated VF (IVF) sensitivities were calculated by merging right and left eye 24-2 VF data.
Mean age was 71 years (range, 57–93) and mean IVF sensitivity was 27.1 dB (normal = 31 dB). Lower IVF sensitivity was associated with greater RMS sway during eyes-open foam-surface testing (β = 0.23 z-score units/5 dB IVF sensitivity decrement, P = 0.001), but not during other ICTSIB conditions. Lower IVF sensitivity also was associated with greater RMS sway during feet together standing balance testing (0.10 z-score units/5 dB IVF sensitivity decrement, P = 0.049), but not during other standing balance conditions. Visual dependence of balance was lower in patients with worse IVF sensitivity (β = −21%/5 dB IVF sensitivity decrement, P < 0.001). Neither superior nor inferior IVF sensitivity consistently predicted balance measures better than measures of overall VF sensitivity.
Balance was worse in glaucoma patients with greater VF damage under foam surface testing (designed to inhibit proprioceptive contributions to balance) as well as feet-together firm-surface conditions when somatosensory inputs were available.
Good balance is essential to avoid unnecessary falls and patients with VF loss from glaucoma may be at higher risk of falls because of poor balance.
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