Could Your Walk Indicate Early Eye Troubles?

It might seem crazy, but the way you walk actually says quite a bit about you. According to body experts, each person’s particular gait gives clues to his or her personality, mood and emotions. For example, fast walkers tend to be more driven and confident while slow or quiet walkers are usually more thoughtful or timid (Source: Huffington Post). But the way you walk doesn’t just give clues about your temperament or emotions; it can actually be a key indicator of eye problems, particularly glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss or blindness. Patients with glaucoma experience reduced depth perception and contrast sensitivity as their vision deteriorates, leaving them at greater risk for falls and injury. Glaucoma patients tend to walk more slowly, sway, have uneven step patterns and may frequently bump into objects.

To help identity gait abnormalities and prevent the risk of falls and injury in glaucoma patients, researchers at Washington State University have developed shoe sensors that analyze walking patterns. The sensors, which are located in a platform attached to special shoes, can measure, filter and analyze the individuals step length, step evenness and equity between feet. Washington State researchers are now teaming up with the University of California, Los Angeles to put these sensors to the test in clinical trials.

Glaucoma is quite treatable when discovered in its early stages. However, the most common form of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, presents virtually no symptoms in its beginning stages, making early diagnosis very difficult. Washington State researchers hope these sensors can one day be used to diagnose glaucoma earlier, giving patients a greater chance at recovery and increased quality of life (Source: Bel Marra Health).

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