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Gait and Glaucoma, There is a Link!

Glaucoma TreatmentGlaucoma is a condition that can pose a very real risk to the life of your vision. As many as three million Americans face this eye disease that causes undue pressure on the optic nerve. Because there is no cure, and because glaucoma is reported by The World Health Organization as one of the primary causes of blindness, there is good reason to seek early intervention to slow its progression.

What often happens is that eye discomfort leads a person to seek a consultation with their eye doctor. At this point, glaucoma has already caused damage – damage that could permanently affect peripheral vision. Patients near Fargo are encouraged to schedule routine eye exams, as this significantly increases the potential for long lasting visual clarity. Of the various things that doctors consider in glaucoma, research is pointing to an interesting clue: gait.

What Gait has to do with Glaucoma

Studies have investigated how “clumsiness” could be an indicator of poor vision. Because previous studies had confirmed an association between foot placement and frequent falls or collisions with inanimate objects, a study performed at Washington State University explored focused on how a person’s gait may change due to poor peripheral vision rather than poor central vision, which could be caused by macular degeneration rather than glaucoma.

The researchers at Washington State University have partnered with researchers from UCLA to conduct this comprehensive study. One group gathered and interpreted data, while the other designed and developed algorithms. Participants in the study were fitted with shoes equipped with sensors and recorded data such as the length and evenness of steps as they walked short distances, and as they stood up from a seated position to walk.

The findings of this 2015 study could be significant in facilitating the earliest possible diagnosis of glaucoma. Until advanced technologies are developed, the best way to treat this concerning condition is to see your eye doctor every year. The thoroughness of our exam process can detect slight changes to your peripheral vision before they become obvious to you.

Though it cannot be cured, glaucoma can be treated. So don’t wait – call to schedule your eye exam with Dr. Thom.

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