Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 8, 2008
   Pages 1117 — 1124

Abstract - Review of intrinsic factors related to fall risk in individuals with visual impairments

Christopher T. Ray, PhD, ATC, CSCS;1* Steven L. Wolf, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FAHA2

1Dallas Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Dallas, TX; and Department of Kinesiology, The
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX; 2Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medicine, and Cell Biology and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA; and Atlanta VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Atlanta, GA

Abstract — Abundant information in the geriatric literature emphasizes the factors relevant to maintenance of independent mobility and reduction of fall risk. However, while some researchers have attempted to identify the relationship between chronic health and visual impairment, few studies have systematically explored the impact of physical interventions that aim to remediate reduced health and function in adults with visual impairments. This review identifies intrinsic physical factors that negatively affect health and independence in adults with visual impairments. By highlighting these factors, we hope to provide a basis for future exercise interventions that will target reductions in the rate of physiological decline while preserving and potentially restoring independent functioning. Because the aging population is increasing and the basis for and subsequent formulation of exercise programs for maintaining mobility and quality of life have not been definitively ascertained for individuals with declining vision, exploring the intrinsic physical factors most amenable to physical rehabilitation becomes relevant.

Key words: aging, chronic health, fall risk, falls, health, independence, physical functioning, physical rehabilitation, sensory impairment, visual impairment.

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