Relationship between functional vision and balance and mobility performance in community-dwelling older adults
Aartolahti, E., Häkkinen, A., Lönnroos, E., Kautiainen, H., Sulkava, R., & Hartikainen, S. (2013). Relationship between functional vision and balance and mobility performance in community-dwelling older adults. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 25 (5), 545-552. doi:10.1007/s40520-013-0120-z
Published inAging Clinical and Experimental Research
© Springer. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Springer.
Background and Aims: Vision is an important prerequisite for balance control and mobility. The role of objectively measured visual functions has been previously studied but less is known about associations of functional vision. That refers to selfperceived vision-based ability to perform daily activities. The aim was to investigate the relationship between functional vision and balance and mobility performance in a community-based sample of older adults. Methods: This study is part of a Geriatric Multidisciplinary Strategy for the Good Care of the Elderly project (GeMS). Participants (576) aged 76 to 100 years (mean age 81 years, 70% women) were interviewed using a seven-item functional vision questionnaire (VF-7). Balance and mobility were measured by the Berg balance scale (BBS), timed up and go (TUG), chair stand test, and maximal walking speed. In addition self-reported fear of falling, depressive symptoms (15-item Geriatric Depression Scale), cognition (Mini Mental State Examination) and physical activity (Grimby) were assessed. In the analysis, participants were classified into poor, moderate, or good functional vision groups. Results The poor functional vision group (n=95) had more comorbidities, depressed mood, cognition decline, fear of falling, and reduced physical activity compared to participants with moderate (n=222) or good functional vision (n=259). Participants with poor functional vision performed worse on all balance and mobility tests. After adjusting for gender, age, chronic conditions, and cognition, the linearity remained statistically significant between functional vision and BBS (p=0.013), TUG (p=0.010), 3 and maximal walking speed (p=0.008), but not between functional vision and chair stand (p=0.069). Conclusion Poor functional vision is related to weaker balance and mobility performance in community-dwelling older adults. This highlights the importance of widespread assessment of health, including functional vision, to prevent balance impairment and maintain independent mobility among older population. ...
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