PURPOSE. The aim of this study was to identify the visual factors associated with various levels of balance ability in a population-based study of older adults. METHODS. Data for this analysis came from the third round of the Salisbury Eye Evaluation population-based cohort study (1505 individuals). Measures of visual function including acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual fields, and motion detection were obtained. Balance was assessed by determining if participants could complete a series of timed stands designed to increase in difficulty. The outcome was an unsuccessful stand. Analyses were performed using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations with stand type as an indicator variable. RESULTS. In a model containing all vision variables, those with worse motion-detection threshold were more likely to have an unsuccessful tandem stand (odds ratio [OR] = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.13-2.15) and soleo stand (on one foot of choice with eyes open and arms out; OR = 3.08, 95% CI: 1.57- 6.06) while those with worse visual field were more likely to have an unsuccessful tandem stand (OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.08 -1.38) after adjustment. Furthermore, the relationship between motion-detection threshold and an unsuccessful stand was stronger for the most difficult stand on one foot (the soleo stand) (P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS. Problems with balance in older adults may be due, in part, to decreased ability to detect small movements and/or visual field reduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience