Eye Movements Affect Postural Control in Young and Older Females.

Dewhurst, S., Thomas, N.M., Bampouras, T.M. and Donovan, T., 2016. Eye Movements Affect Postural Control in Young and Older Females. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 8, pp. 1-11.

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DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00216

Abstract

Visual information is used for postural stabilization in humans. However, little is known about how eye movements prevalent in everyday life interact with the postural control system in older individuals. Therefore, the present study assessed the effects of stationary gaze fixations, smooth pursuits, and saccadic eye movements, with combinations of absent, fixed and oscillating large-field visual backgrounds to generate different forms of retinal flow, on postural control in healthy young and older females. Participants were presented with computer generated visual stimuli, whilst postural sway and gaze fixations were simultaneously assessed with a force platform and eye tracking equipment, respectively. The results showed that fixed backgrounds and stationary gaze fixations attenuated postural sway. In contrast, oscillating backgrounds and smooth pursuits increased postural sway. There were no differences regarding saccades. There were also no differences in postural sway or gaze errors between age groups in any visual condition. The stabilizing effect of the fixed visual stimuli show how retinal flow and extraocular factors guide postural adjustments. The destabilizing effect of oscillating visual backgrounds and smooth pursuits may be related to more challenging conditions for determining body shifts from retinal flow, and more complex extraocular signals, respectively. Because the older participants matched the young group's performance in all conditions, decreases of posture and gaze control during stance may not be a direct consequence of healthy aging. Further research examining extraocular and retinal mechanisms of balance control and the effects of eye movements, during locomotion, is needed to better inform fall prevention interventions.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1663-4365
Uncontrolled Keywords:balance; elderly; eye tracking; gaze accuracy; saccadic; smooth pursuit; visual input
Group:Faculty of Management
ID Code:29634
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:31 Aug 2017 14:02
Last Modified:31 Aug 2017 14:02

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