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Marie-Chantal Wanet-Defalque, Khatoune Témisjian, Walter Wittich, Kenneth Southall, Olga Overbury; Low Vision Rehabilitation Services From the Patients Perspective. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4424.
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To investigate how patients in the greater Montreal area who are eligible for and/or have accessed low vision rehabilitation services (LVRS) become aware of and perceive such services
Nine focus group discussions were held with English- and French-speaking patients recruited from 4 university-based ophthalmology departments and 2 private practices. Group discussions were conducted with a total of 34 individuals (F=21, M= 13) ranging in age from 32 to 92. Heterogeneous groups were selected so that differences in perspectives on barriers to LVRS would be most apparent to investigators during focus group discussions and subsequent analyses. All patients met the eligibility criteria for vision rehabilitation (best-corrected VA of less than 20/70 or visual field less than 60 degrees in the better eye). Discussion sessions of approximately 2 hours each were audiotaped and monitored by 2 researchers. The taped conversations were subsequently transcribed and analysed using thematic analyses.
Themes arising from the discussion groups empasize the central role of ophthalmologists, besides family and friends, in the awareness of LVRS. Vision loss has a strong negative effect on participants, with feelings of shock, humiliation, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Acceptance is extremely difficult to reach, but psychosocial support is not widely offered to or accepted by the participants. Association of LVRS to the stigma associated to blindness hinders the decision to ask for such rehabilitation, while patients who eventually receive LVRS are quite satisfied with them. Patients suggest that information and education of the community (from health services to the general public) by all possible media would help and would motivate patients to access those services without being embarrassed.
LVRS are valued by patients who have been refered to them. Better general public education would help to widely promote these services for eligible patients. The ophtalmologist’s crucial role in the awareness process has also been stressed by low vision patients.
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