Visual field loss and accelerometer-measured physical activity in the United States

Ophthalmology. 2012 Dec;119(12):2486-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.06.034. Epub 2012 Aug 11.


Objective: To determine whether visual field (VF) loss is associated with lower levels of accelerometer-defined walking or physical activity in a nationally representative sample of American adults.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Participants: A total of 2934 adults aged 40 years or older who participated in the examination component of the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey.

Methods: Frequency-doubling technology (FDT) testing was performed in both eyes and used to categorize subjects as having no VF loss, unilateral VF loss, or bilateral VF loss. Accelerometer data were collected over 7 days of normal activity.

Main outcome measures: Steps per day and daily minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Results: A total of 1468 participants (50.0%) had complete FDT and accelerometer data. Individuals without VF loss averaged 9751 steps/day and 20.8 minutes/day of MVPA, compared with 8023 steps/day and 14.5 minutes/day for subjects with unilateral VF loss (age-adjusted P = 0.11 and P = 0.51) and 6840 steps/day and 10.1 minutes/day for subjects with bilateral VF loss (age-adjusted P = 0.02 and 0.09, respectively). In multivariable models adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and several comorbid illnesses, individuals with bilateral VF loss took 17% fewer steps per day (P < 0.01) and engaged in 30% less MVPA (P = 0.02) than individuals without VF loss. No significant difference in steps per day or MVPA was observed between individuals with unilateral VF loss and no VF loss (P > 0.05). In addition to VF loss, older age, female sex, arthritis, diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), and stroke were significantly associated with fewer daily steps and minutes of MVPA (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Bilateral VF loss is associated with less walking and physical activity in American adults. Patients with bilateral VF loss should be encouraged to engage safely in more physical activity.

Financial disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology*