Balance Functional Assessment in People with Visual Impairment

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Abstract

The aims of this study were twofold: to assess the level of balance of people with visual impairment against the BOT-2 standard scores for the able-bodied, and to identify in which trials subjects had the greatest difficulties in maintaining balance with respect to the degree of vision loss and age categories. One hundred twenty-seven subjects with visual impairment aged 6-16 years, participated in the study (68 girls and 59 boys). The division for partially sighted people (61) and the blind (66) was made according to the WHO classification. Functional balance assessment was made using a balance subtest from the Bruininks-Oseretsky test. Significant relationships were noticed between age and the level of balance (χ2 = 8.35 p <0,05), as well as between the degree of vision loss and the level of balance (χ2 = 24.53 p <0,001). The level of balance of almost all blind subjects was below (20%) or well-below (60%) the average for the able-bodied. The subjects’ ability to maintain balance was not dependent on gender and was associated primarily with the degree of visual impairment and age. Partially sighted people had better balance than the blind and the decrease in visual acuity resulted in reduction of balance skills. The lowest level of balance was observed in blind students aged 7-11 years. Elaborating physical fitness improvement programs for children and adolescents with visual impairment, diversity of age, the degree of vision loss and limitations of ablility to maintain balance should be taken into account.

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Journal of Human Kinetics

The Journal of Academy of Physical Education in Katowice

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