Home-based rehabilitation improves daily life of people with low vision

December 9, 2016

The visual function and daily life of people whose sight can't be corrected with glasses or contact lenses can be significantly improved through home visits by rehabilitation specialists, concludes a study by Cardiff University.

Participants that received home care by visual rehabilitation officers were found to have a significantly greater improvement in visual function compared to those that were only offered standard appointments at hospitals and community based services.

Professor Tom Margrain from Cardiff University's School of Optometry and Vision Sciences said: "With low vision affecting around 2m people in the UK, it's important to identify visual rehabilitation services that can improve the independence and quality of life of those with sight loss. We already know that visual rehabilitation is beneficial to people with low vision but what we don't know is the best method of delivery. Our new research reveals that a home visit system is very beneficial, delivering care and advice that can promote independence and recover lost skills."

Dan Pescod, RNIB's Head of Campaigns, added: "This study is a useful addition to growing evidence about the efficacy of vision rehabilitation in helping blind and partially sighted people to live independently. The research also reinforces the importance of RNIB's See, Plan and Provide campaign, which calls for better access to timely, high-quality vision rehabilitation support."

During the study, 67 study participants were split into two groups for a six month period. Half were seen at regular intervals by visual rehabilitation officers, employed by the charitable organisation Sight Cymru, and the other half were only entitled to receive routine appointments at hospitals or community-based low vision optometric services.

During , needs were assessed in areas such as functional vision, lighting, emotional difficulties, personal hygiene, medication management, kitchen safety, household tasks, welfare entitlements, orientation and communications. Training and support was then tailored within these areas, for example, support in the use of low vision aids, dosette box (pill organiser) provision, liquid level indicator provision and long cane training. The number of visits was determined by the Visual Rehabilitation Officer on a case-by-case basis.

About 70% of people in the home visit group reported that the visits were 'extremely helpful', with kitchen training highlighted as the most helpful aspect.

Professor Tom Margrain added, "Up until now there has been a distinct lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of the social care delivered by home rehabilitation, undermining this service and resulting in reduced availability in several parts of the UK. Our study proves that a visual rehabilitation officer can make a real difference to the lives of people with low , catering to the individual's needs in their daily surroundings."

The research 'Effect of a Home-Visit Based Low Vision Rehabilitation Intervention on Visual Function Outcomes: an Exploratory Randomized Controlled Trial' is published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

Explore further: Trial suggests changes to improve stroke related rehabilitation research

Related Stories

The Medical Minute: Hope for those with vision loss

February 27, 2012

One of the most difficult things optometrists and ophthalmologists must tell a patient is that he or she has an eye disease that already has or could permanently rob them of their vision. Today, the most common diseases in ...

PCPs have important role to play in senior visual health

February 8, 2016

(HealthDay)—Primary care physicians (PCPs) can play an important role in preserving visual health and maximizing quality of life (QOL) for elderly patients with visual loss, according to a review published online Jan. 30 ...

Recommended for you

Surgery can restore vision in patients with brain injuries

December 12, 2016

Surgery can restore vision in patients who have suffered hemorrhaging in the eye after a traumatic brain injury, even if the operation doesn't occur until several months after the injury, according to a small study from vision ...

An eye on young specialists' success

December 5, 2016

Graduates from several medical and surgical specialties are having difficulty securing practice opportunities, especially in specialties dependent upon limited resources, according to new research from Queen's ophthalmologist ...

'Halo' effect common after lasik eye surgery

December 3, 2016

(HealthDay)—Nine out of 10 Lasik laser eye surgery patients report satisfaction afterwards. But a sizable percentage experience new visual disturbances—like seeing halos around lights—up to six months after the procedure, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.