Faculty Advisor(s)

Maureen Rinehimer



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As of 2019, at least 2.2 billion people worldwide are living with some degree of visual impairment according to the World Health Organization. Generic physical therapy has been shown to benefit those with visual impairments. In a 2014 systematic review, researchers analyzed multiple studies that focused on the visually impaired population and their progress on strengthening after participating in exercise programs. They found that the generalized PT helped to improve the performance on tests of physical function in those with visual impairments. There has been minimal research on aquatic therapy and those with visual impairments, yet there have been other studies looking at aquatic therapy with other impairments. Due to the lack of previous research on the topic, the purpose of this study was to see how aquatic therapy affects those with visual impairments in the areas of strength, balance, quality of life and emotional well being. Twenty participants with visual impairments intend to be recruited from the Northeast Sight Services in Exeter, PA. These participants will take place in a 6 week exercise program adapted from the Ohio State Aquatic Therapy Exercise Program. Pre and post exercise program measurements will be assessed in the areas of strength via the 30 Second STS test, balance via the BERG balance scale, and quality of life and emotional well being via the SF-36 and additional qualitative questions. The researchers hypothesize that there will be improvements in the post exercise program assessments. This is a protocol study.

Publication Date


Document Type



Physical Therapy


blindness, physical therapy, pool therapy, vision loss


Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Other Rehabilitation and Therapy | Physical Therapy | Physiotherapy | Recreational Therapy

Clinical Effectiveness of an Aquatic Exercise Program on Strength, Balance, Quality of Life and Emotional Well-Being in Those with Visual Impairments: A Protocol Study