Transl Vis Sci Technol 2017 Jul 1;6(4):14. Epub 2017 Aug 1.
Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Purpose: To identify potential differences between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients and controls in fall-relevant gait characteristics.
Methods: Spatiotemporal gait characteristics using the GAITRite walkway were collected from 29 AMD patients and 20 controls, aged 60 to 90 years, at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Multiple linear regressions, controlling for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and comorbidities were used to assess associations between gait characteristics and AMD.
Results: Study participants were predominantly white (86%) and female (55%). Mean age of the full study population was 73.51 (SD: 8.14) years, and mean BMI was 27.80 (SD: 5.44) kg/m. Median better-eye acuity (logMAR) was 0.23 (interquartile range [IQR] = 0.18, 0.36) and -0.02 (IQR = -0.08, 0.02), while median binocular log contrast sensitivity was 1.44 (IQR = 1.32, 1.56) and 1.76 (IQR = 1.76, 1.80) for the AMD and control groups, respectively. In multivariable regression models, AMD patients had significantly slower walking speeds (β = -0.118 m/sec [95% confidence interval (CI): -0.229, -0.007], = 0.038) and stride velocities (β = -0.119 m/sec [95% CI: -0.232, -0.007], = 0.038), and greater double support time (β = 3.381% of the walk cycle, 95% CI = 1.006, 5.757, = 0.006) than controls. There were no group differences in base of support, step length, stride length, or gait variability measures.
Conclusion: AMD patients exhibited many fall-relevant gait characteristics.
Translational Relevance: The finding of fall-relevant gait characteristics suggests that AMD patients may be at a greater risk of falls during ambulation than those without AMD.