Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) experience a deterioration of their central vision. Two thirds of AMD patients have problems with visuomotor and balance skills resulting in clumsiness and increased risk of falls.
A new study investigates the link between balance training and improved visual, vestibular and somatosensory functions involved in balance control. The study measured the effectiveness of balance training on both reading speed and several visuomotor functions.
The study looked a balance data for 54 patients with AMD and 55 controls. Balance training was then given to 16 patients and 14 controls. The researchers evaluated reading performance, postural sway, pointing accuracy, and, for the AMD patients, the effect of low vision training and balance training.
Result: “Even after a limited number of sessions of cross-modal balance training, the results show a significant improvement for the vestibular input and fixation stability.” Resarchers concluded that such training can be helpful for poor vision patients to maintain balance.
Published: Balance training and visual rehabilitation of age-related macular degeneration patients, Radvay, et al, Journal of Vestibular Research, Volume 17, Number 4, 2007, pages 183 – 193.