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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016 Jun;239(2):159-64. doi: 10.1620/tjem.239.159.

Saccadic Eye Movement Improves Plantar Sensation and Postural Balance in Elderly Women.

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Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Science, Gachon University.


Vision, proprioception and plantar sensation contribute to the control of postural balance (PB). Reduced plantar sensation alters postural response and is at an increased risk of fall, and eye movements reduce the postural sway. Therefore, the aim of this study was to study the improvement of plantar sensation and PB after saccadic eye movement (SEM) and pursuit eye movement (PEM) in community-dwelling elderly women. Participants (104 females; 75.11 ± 6.25 years) were randomly allocated into the SEM group (n = 52) and PEM groups (n = 52). The SEM group performed eye fixation and SEM for 5 minutes, and the PEM group performed eye fixation and PEM for 5 minutes. The plantar sensation was measured according to the plantar surface area of the feet in contact with the floor surface before and after the intervention. Before and after SEM and PEM with the eyes open and closed, PB was measured as the area (mm(2)), length (cm), and velocity (cm/s) of the fluctuation of the center of pressure (COP). The plantar sensation of both feet improved in both groups (p < 0.01). Significant decreases in the area, length, and velocity of the COP were observed in the eye open and close in both groups (p < 0.01). The length and velocity of the COP significantly decreased in the SEM group compared to the PEM group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, SEM and PEM are effective interventions for improving plantar sensation and PB in elderly women, with greater PB improvement after SEM.

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