Of eyes and stability

It is a known fact: vision, proprioception and plantar sensitivity contribute to postural control. We recognize that there is a veritable axis between the eyes and the feet (Roll, 1987).

A reduction in plantar sensitivity alters the postural response and increases fall risk. As well, we know that eye movement can reduce postural sway.

The goal of a recent study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27302207) was to assess plantar sensitivity and postural stability after specific eye exercises of the saccade and pursuit type. These tests were performed on elderly women.

One of the two groups studied performed saccades while the other performed pursuits. The results are convincing. In both cases, positive changes were seen at both, a foot sensitivity level and postural stability level.

It is obvious that specific populations, such as the one studied here, need to be educated on fall risks since, in the worst of cases, they can be fatal. That being said, all the while, it seems to be indicated to suggest eye exercises, such as saccades and pursuits, as we would train other muscles in our body, in order to gain stability and, by the same token, reduce the risk of a fall.


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