Encourage patients with bilateral vision loss to be more active

September 12, 2012
Ophthalmology Times Staff Reports

Newly published research gives ophthalmologists a reason to encourage their adult patients with visual field loss in both eyes to be more physically active.

Baltimore-Ophthalmologists should encourage their adult patients with visual field (VF) loss in both eyes to be more physically active, concluded researchers publishing a study online by Ophthalmology.

People who have bilateral VF loss walk less and are less physically active, according to Suzanne W. van Landingham, Jeffrey R. Willis, MD, PhD, and Pradeep Y. Ramulu, MD, PhD, of the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and Susan Vitale, PhD, MHS, of the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD. They are the authors of “Visual field loss and accelerometer-measured physical activity in the United States.”

The investigators conducted a cross-sectional study of 2,934 adults, aged at least 40 years, who had been examined as part of the 2005 to 2006 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. They performed frequency-doubling technology (FDT) testing in both eyes of participants and categorized patients as having no VF loss, unilateral VF loss, or bilateral VF loss.

Researchers measured physical activity via accelerometers and collected data from them over 7 days of normal activity. The main outcomes measures were steps per day and daily minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Of the 1,468 study participants for whom FDT and accelerometer data were complete:

Those without VF loss averaged 9,751 steps/day and 20.8 minutes/day of MVPA.

Those with unilateral VF loss averaged 8,023 steps/day and 14.5 minutes/day of MVPA.

Those with bilateral VF loss averaged 6,840 steps/day and 10.1 minutes/day of MVPA.

The investigators used multivariable models to adjust for factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and many co-morbid illnesses. They found that participants who had VF loss in both eyes took 17% fewer steps per day and engaged in 30% less MVPA than those without VF loss. Older patients, women, and those living with arthritis, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or stroke also were likely to take fewer steps daily and have fewer minutes per day of MVPA.

Researchers saw no significant difference in steps per day or MVPA between patients who had VF loss in only one eye and those who had no VF loss.

Visual field loss
as measured by frequency-doubling technology

Average steps per day
as measured
by accelerometer

Average minutes per day of moderate or vigorous physical activity

None

9,751

20.8

Unilateral

8,023

14.5

Bilateral

6,840

10.1

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