Introduction: Falls are the most prominent cause of injury and injury-related deaths among older adults (OAs). Virtual reality has been utilized as a method of improving balance and gait in OAs. However, the use of virtual reality through a head-mounted display (VR-HMD) in this area is limited. Objective: The objective of this scoping review was to identify research that used VR-HMD in relation to balance and gait in OAs and to evaluate how VR-HMD is being used with this population. Materials and Methods: A systematic search of the literature was carried out from June 2019 to July 2019 through the following databases: Scopus, Web of Science, PUBMED, and PsycInfo. Eligible studies involved the use of VR-HMD to assess or intervene in balance or gait outcomes of OAs (≥65 years). Articles were not limited to any specific study design or by the year of publication. Results: Our search identified 306 possible articles, of which eight citations met the eligibility criteria. Four studies utilized VR-HMD as an assessment tool or to perturb the balance, while the other four used VR-HMD in their interventions. Conclusions: Currently, it is not clear whether VR-HMD alone is an effective tool for improving balance and gait. However, this review suggests that it is feasible to use VR-HMD with OAs to affect balance and gait. More research is needed in this area, although there appears to be great potential in utilizing VR-HMD with OAs to improve balance outcomes.
- Older adults
- Virtual reality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Computer Science Applications
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health