October 2014 — For people with glaucoma, walking isn't as easy as it once was. Even in the early stages of the disease, when vision hasn't yet deteriorated noticeably, glaucoma sufferers may walk more slowly, bump into things, stumble and sway.
Researchers at Washington State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have been using sensors in clinical trials to analyze people's gait. The trials are comparing the gaits of glaucoma patients with those of people in control groups.
The sensors are worn on special shoes and can detect the length and evenness of a step, as well as the equity between the feet. By detecting changes and abnormalities in the way a person walks, the analysis could provide an early indication of glaucoma's presence and could also prevent serious injury from falls.
The University of California, Los Angeles, is recruiting more participants in various stages of glaucoma for the next phase of the research.