Mobility and Fall Risk in Central Visual Field Loss

motion capture line representations of the segments of a standing person

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in the developed world. Central visual field loss due to diseases such as AMD is a large and growing problem. It is also associated with higher risk of falls and, therefore injury. Although much has been done to understand visual limitations associated with this condition, one of its most dangerous and poorly understood outcomes is the increase in the risk of falls, which can be debilitating and even deadly, especially in the age group most affected by AMD. The exact reasons for the increased fall risk are unknown; a combination of visual, vestibular, oculomotor and affective changes are likely. Loss of important visual information can lead to poor motion planning, stiffening and higher incidence of falls. These changes, such as factors associated with falls-related anxiety, modifiable, thus presenting an opportunity for rehabilitation.

In this project we look at both the individual factors that are likely to contribute to fall-risk in central field loss and how they can be modified, as well asthe opportunities for collaboration between clinicians, researchers, and patients to increase awareness of fall risk and mobility limitations in central field loss and develop best rehabilitation approaches for this population.