Addressing balance challenges that low vision patients face
Many of our patients suddenly experience balance challenges when they lose some vision. While some patients have other conditions that may contribute to their difficulty in maintaining their balance, most do not.
The human body is a very complex machine with many interrelated parts. People who have not lost some vision use their vision to send orienting information to the brain. The brain then sends signals to muscles to make the necessary adjustments to maintain balance.
When a person loses some vision the system stops working as well as it used to, far less accurate information is gets transmitted to the brain. The brain then tries, but often is far less successful, to get the body's muscles to make the right adjustments. Consequently, low vision patients struggle to maintain their balance.
While it is not possible for us to improve our patients' vision, we can help them another way. We teach patients strategies to compensate for their limited balance. These strategies may come in the form of exercises, techniques, or equipment to improve their overall performance. Equally important, our patients finally have a better understanding of what is happening to them.