Study Design Repeated Measures.
Objectives To determine if limiting visual information by using stroboscopic eyewear alters spatial and temporal measures of static postural control.
Background Multiple musculoskeletal injuries alter sensory organisation strategies by increasing an individual’s reliance on visual information. Balance training exercises on unstable platforms (e.g. wobble boards) also promote using visual information. Eyes closed exercises force individuals to rely more heavily on somatosensory information but the static nature of the exercises limits the exercises functionality during rehabilitation. Stroboscopic eyewear limits visual information by introducing a stroboscopic visual effect while the participant undergoes dynamic movements. Using stroboscopic eyewear to occlude visual information may improve functionality by emphasising available somatosensory information. The impact on sensorimotor function under this clinical research paradigm remains unclear.
Methods and Measures Ten subjects (five controls; five with self-reported CAI) participated. CAI was defined in accordance with the International Ankle Consortium guidelines. Three 10 s single limb balance trials quantified centre of pressure velocity (COPV) and the 95% confidence ellipse (CE95) under four visual conditions: eyes open (EO), eyes open with low stroboscopic interference (EOLS), eyes open with high stroboscopic interference (EOHS), and eyes closed (EC).
Results For COPV, the EO trials (4.00±0.90 cm/s) were significantly better than the other conditions (EC=9.45±1.88 cm/s; EOLS=8.33±1.91 cm/s; EOHS=6.41±1.52 cm/s; p<0.001). The EOHS condition also demonstrated better COPV than the EOLS (p=0.044) and the EC condition (p<0.001). For CE95, the EC (0.63±0.06 cm2) and both stroboscopic interference conditions (EOLS=0.65±0.06 cm2; EOHS=0.65±0.06 cm2) were different (p<0.001) from the EO condition (0.66±0.07 cm2). The EOHS condition was also different from the EC condition (p=0.035) for CE95.
Conclusion Stroboscopic eyewear impaired postural control in our study to the same extent as completely removing visual information (eyes closed). Stroboscopic interference could reduce visual information and promote appropriate sensory organisation strategies during functional dynamic rehabilitation.
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