Balance challenges

We hear this complaint from patients all the time. Balance is very connected to vision. Vision sends information to the brain which then makes adjustments in body alignment to regulate balance. When a patient loses vision, the information to the brain is less complete so the brain cannot make the same adjustments to maintain balance. 

While we cannot improve vision, we have strategies to improve balance. We teach our low vision patients balance and strength exercises. Examples of balance exercises are standing on one leg and standing straight with arms in front or the sides. Strength exercises might be chair exercises doing leg lifts or marches. These exercises help strengthen muscles and increase coordination. Ultimately, patients feel more steady when walking. This increased feeling of security reassures patients and lets them lead a more normal life.

Thank you to Katina Lawdis, one our occupational therapists, for this article.