The Romberg test, with the subject standing and with eyes closed, gives diagnostic arguments for a proprioceptive disorder. Closing the eyes is also used in balance rehabilitation as a main way to stimulate neural plasticity with proprioceptive, vestibular and even cerebellar disorders. Nevertheless, standing and walking with eyes closed or with eyes open in the dark are certainly 2 different tasks. We aimed to compare walking with eyes open, closed and wearing black or white goggles in healthy subjects.
A total of 50 healthy participants were randomly divided into 2 protocols and asked to walk on a 5-m pressure-sensitive mat, under 3 conditions: (1) eyes open (EO), eyes closed (EC) and eyes open with black goggles (BG) and (2) EO, EO with BG and with white goggles (WG). Gait was described by velocity (m·s−1), double support (% gait cycle), gait variability index (GVI/100) and exit from the mat (%). Analysis involved repeated measures Anova, Holm-Sidak's multiple comparisons test for parametric parameters (GVI) and Dunn's multiple comparisons test for non-parametric parameters.
As compared with walking with EC, walking with BG produced lower median velocity, by 6% (EO 1.26; BG 1.01 vs EC 1.07m·s−1, P=0.0328), and lower mean GVI, by 8% (EO 91.8; BG 66.8 vs EC 72.24, P=0.009). Parameters did not differ between walking under the BG and WG conditions.
The goggle task increases the difficulty in walking with visual deprivation compared to the Romberg task, so the goggle task can be proposed to gradually increase the difficulty in walking with visual deprivation (from eyes closed to eyes open in black goggles).Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Walk, Eyes closed, Romberg, Goggles, Balance