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Fiona J Rowe, LiVING; Views of stroke survivors on impact of visual impairment.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):498.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual impairment is considered to add impact to daily life over that already incurred by general problems due to the stroke. In this study we sought to ask stroke survivors directly about their experiences of visual impairment to determine impact on daily life.
We recruited stroke survivors with visual impairment who were more than one year post stroke onset. Biographical narrative interviews commenced with a pre-constructed single narrative question followed with additional narratives relating to the sequence of topics raised and non-narrative questions to explore topics further. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic approach to analysis of the qualitative data was adopted. Transcripts were systematically coded using NVivo10 qualitative software.
We interviewed 35 stroke survivors across the UK: 16 females and 19 males aged 20 to 75 years at stroke onset. A number of themes emerged. Where visual problems existed, they were often attributed to other causes such as migraine. Visual problems included visual field loss, double vision, reading, glare/photophobia, blurred vision and perceptual problems. Impact of visual problems typically included loss in confidence, increased collisions/accidents, fear of crowded places and fear of falling. These individuals made many adaptations to compensate for their visual problem(s): magnifiers, large print, taking extra care/caution, de-cluttering their environment, increased lighting and use of a white stick. Many individuals did not receive early vision assessment or treatment for their visual problems.
There is a consistent lack of post-stroke support and provision of information about visual problems. Stroke survivors and their carers felt there was a need for improvement of education to promote knowledge and increased awareness of post-stroke visual impairment.
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