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Eyeball exercise can improve balance ability in older people

This study suggests that eyeball exercise programmes affect vestibular function by the activation of the vestibular ocular reflex.

Having a fall can lead to loss of self-confidence, increased dependence on others and decreased quality of life. Older people have a higher risk of falls because of decreased flexibility, weakness of lower leg muscles, failing eyesight and poor balance.

Balance involves the somatic sensory system, visual systems and vestibular organs, which all interact depending on the relationship of the head and surrounding objects. Older people have decreased interaction ability between the visual and vestibular systems.

In this single-blind study 61 older people who had experienced a fall were randomly assigned to either eyeball or functional exercises. The eyeball exercises involved first holding two cards 30cm in front of participants and asking them to stare at the right and left card alternately. Participants were then asked to fix their gaze on the card while it was moved and to move their head from


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