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Mahesh K. Dev, Alex A. Black, Damian Cuda, Joanne M. Wood; Low Light Exposure and Physical Activity in Older Adults With and Without Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(3):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.3.21.
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To investigate the extent of low light exposure and associated physical activity in older adults with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Light exposure (lux) and physical activity (counts per minute, CPM) were measured in 28 older adults (14 bilateral AMD and 14 normally sighted controls) using a wrist-worn actigraphy device (Actiwatch) for 7 days and nights. Exposure to low light levels (≤10 lux) and physical activity during waking hours were determined, as well as number of brief active periods during sleeping hours (e.g., going to the bathroom). Assessments included visual acuity and the Low Luminance Questionnaire (LLQ).
No significant differences were found in low light exposure (39 ± 14% vs. 34 ± 10%) or physical activity (200 ± 82 CPM vs. 226 ± 55 CPM) during waking hours between the AMD and control group. However, the AMD group had more brief active periods during sleeping hours than controls (1.8 ± 1.3 vs. 1.1 ± 0.4; P = 0.007). Reduced physical activity under low light levels was significantly associated with lower LLQ scores (P = 0.012).
Exposure to low light levels and associated physical activity were similar in older adults with and without AMD. This has important implications for older adults with AMD, given the impact of low light levels on visual function and mobility, suggesting the need for including lighting advice in rehabilitation programs for this population.
Older adults with and without AMD spend over a third of waking hours under low light levels, which are an environmental falls hazard. Findings suggest the need for interventions to improve lighting levels for older adults.
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