Recovery of Visual Acuity in People With Vestibular Deficits

01:01 EST 27th February 2015 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to determine whether exercises relieve the symptoms of dizziness and imbalance in people with vestibular deficits and improves the ability to see clearly during head movements. We hypothesize that the performance of specific adaptation and substitution exercises will result in an improvement in visual acuity during head movements while those patients performing placebo exercises will show no improvement.


Decrements in visual acuity during head movement in patients with vestibular hypofunction are potentially serious problems. This deficit could contribute to decreased activity level, avoidance of driving with resultant diminished independence and, ultimately, limited social interactions and increased isolation. Oscillopsia occurs because of inadequate vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) gain and suggests that compensation for the vestibular loss has not occurred. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an exercise intervention on visual acuity during head movement in patients with unilateral and bilateral vestibular hypofunction. We hypothesized that 1) patients performing vestibular exercises would have improved visual acuity during head movement compared to patients performing placebo exercises; 2) there would be no correlation between dynamic visual acuity (DVA) and the patients’ subjective complaints of oscillopsia; and 3) improvement in DVA would be reflected by changes in residual vestibular function as indicated by an increase in VOR gain.

Patients are assigned randomly to either the vestibular exercise or placebo exercise group. The randomization schedule is generated using a computer program for 2-sample randomization. The sequence was not concealed from the investigator who obtained consent from the subjects and supervised the exercises (SJH). The group assignment (vestibular exercise or placebo exercise) was concealed from the participants and from the investigator who performed the outcome measures.

The vestibular exercise group practiced exercises that consisted of adaptation exercises and eye-head exercises to targets (Table 1), which were designed to improve gaze stability 16. They also performed gait and balance exercises. The placebo exercise group performed exercises designed to be ‘vestibular-neutral’.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double-Blind, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction


vestibular exercises, Vestibular neutral exercises


Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University
United States


Active, not recruiting


Emory University

Results (where available)

View Results


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The vestibular part of the 8th cranial nerve (VESTIBULOCOCHLEAR NERVE). The vestibular nerve fibers arise from neurons of Scarpa's ganglion and project peripherally to vestibular hair cells and centrally to the VESTIBULAR NUCLEI of the BRAIN STEM. These fibers mediate the sense of balance and head position.

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Pathological processes of the VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH which contains part of the balancing apparatus. Patients with vestibular diseases show instability and are at risk of frequent falls.

The 8th cranial nerve. The vestibulocochlear nerve has a cochlear part (COCHLEAR NERVE) which is concerned with hearing and a vestibular part (VESTIBULAR NERVE) which mediates the sense of balance and head position. The fibers of the cochlear nerve originate from neurons of the SPIRAL GANGLION and project to the cochlear nuclei (COCHLEAR NUCLEUS). The fibers of the vestibular nerve arise from neurons of Scarpa's ganglion and project to the VESTIBULAR NUCLEI.

The four cellular masses in the floor of the fourth ventricle giving rise to a widely dispersed special sensory system. Included is the superior, medial, inferior, and LATERAL VESTIBULAR NUCLEUS. (From Dorland, 27th ed)

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