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Balanced in virtual reality

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that virtual reality is useful for measuring balance in patients with glaucoma.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among older adults, and patients with glaucoma are three times more likely to fall than anyone else. Yet, few tools exist to properly assess balance.

In a study involving 42 patients with glaucoma and 38 healthy subjects, researchers used the Oculus Rift stereoscopic glasses. The headset can simulate various situations when worn on a special platform designed to measure balance and movement. The researchers simulated moving through tunnels and spinning floors.

During these simulations, participants with glaucoma had to make a pronounced effort to regain their balance 30% to 40% more than those without glaucoma, demonstrating greater difficulty keeping their balance. People with a history of falling had the most difficulty.

This type of tool could be used to quickly identify patients most at risk for falling and to take preventive measures.

For further information: http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(15)00125-6/abstract

 

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