Evaluation of postural control in patients with glaucoma using a virtual reality environment

Alberto Diniz-Filho, Erwin R. Boer, Carolina P.B. Gracitelli, Ricardo Y. Abe, Nienke Van Driel, Zhiyong Yang, Felipe A. Medeiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose To evaluate postural control using a dynamic virtual reality environment and the relationship between postural metrics and history of falls in patients with glaucoma. Design Cross-sectional study. Participants The study involved 42 patients with glaucoma with repeatable visual field defects on standard automated perimetry (SAP) and 38 control healthy subjects. Methods Patients underwent evaluation of postural stability by a force platform during presentation of static and dynamic visual stimuli on stereoscopic head-mounted goggles. The dynamic visual stimuli presented rotational and translational ecologically valid peripheral background perturbations. Postural stability was also tested in a completely dark field to assess somatosensory and vestibular contributions to postural control. History of falls was evaluated by a standard questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures Torque moments around the center of foot pressure on the force platform were measured, and the standard deviations of the torque moments (STD) were calculated as a measurement of postural stability and reported in Newton meters (Nm). The association with history of falls was investigated using Poisson regression models. Age, gender, body mass index, severity of visual field defect, best-corrected visual acuity, and STD on dark field condition were included as confounding factors. Results Patients with glaucoma had larger overall STD than controls during both translational (5.12±2.39 Nm vs. 3.85±1.82 Nm, respectively; P = 0.005) and rotational stimuli (5.60±3.82 Nm vs. 3.93±2.07 Nm, respectively; P = 0.022). Postural metrics obtained during dynamic visual stimuli performed better in explaining history of falls compared with those obtained in static and dark field condition. In the multivariable model, STD values in the mediolateral direction during translational stimulus were significantly associated with a history of falls in patients with glaucoma (incidence rate ratio, 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-2.63; P = 0.001). Conclusions The study presented and validated a novel paradigm for evaluation of balance control in patients with glaucoma on the basis of the assessment of postural reactivity to dynamic visual stimuli using a virtual reality environment. The newly developed metrics were associated with a history of falls and may help to provide a better understanding of balance control in patients with glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1138
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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