To understand the relationship between visual impairment, self-reported eye disease, and the onset of balance problems.
Population-based prospective cohort study METHODS: : Baseline and 3-year follow-up data were used from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. The Comprehensive Cohort included 30,097 adults ages 45-85 years old recruited from 11 sites across 7 provinces. Balance was measured using the one-leg balance test. Those who could not stand on one leg for at least 60 seconds failed the balance test. Presenting visual acuity was measured using the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart. Participants were asked about a previous diagnosis of cataract, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. Logistic regression was used.
Of the 12,158 people who could stand for 60 seconds on one leg at baseline, 18% were unable to do the same 3 years later. For each line worse of visual acuity, there was a 15% higher odds of failing the balance test at follow-up (odds ratio (OR)=1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10, 1.20) after adjustment. Those with a report of a former (OR=1.59, 95% CI 1.17, 2.16) or current cataract (OR=1.31, 95% CI 1.01, 1.68) were more likely to fail the test at follow-up. AMD and glaucoma were not associated with failure on the balance test.
These data provide longitudinal evidence that vision loss increases the odds of balance problems over a 3-year period. Efforts to prevent avoidable vision loss are needed as are efforts to improve the balance of visually impaired people.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.