April 2011
Volume 52, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2011
Barriers to Vision Rehabilitation: The Story of Depression
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather Woods-Fry
    Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Nathalie Duponsel
    School of Optometry,
    Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Walter Wittich
    Centre de recherche institut universitaire de gériatrie de,
    Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Research, MABMackay, MABMackay, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Marie-Chantal Wanet-Defalque
    School of Optometry,
    Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille, Longueil, Quebec, Canada
  • Olga Overbury
    School of Optometry,
    Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Department of Ophthalmology,, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Heather Woods-Fry, None; Nathalie Duponsel, None; Walter Wittich, None; Marie-Chantal Wanet-Defalque, None; Olga Overbury, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Reseau Vision/INLB/MAB-Mackay
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2011, Vol.52, 395. doi:
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      Heather Woods-Fry, Nathalie Duponsel, Walter Wittich, Marie-Chantal Wanet-Defalque, Olga Overbury; Barriers to Vision Rehabilitation: The Story of Depression. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):395.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The Montreal Barriers to Vision Rehabilitation Study focuses on the demographic and psychological characteristics that may affect visually impaired people in their seeking and utilization of rehabilitation services. In general, study participants are identified as belonging to one of three groups: those who are unaware of rehabilitation services, those who are aware but choose not to avail themselves of the services, and those who have received vision rehabilitation. The purpose of this specific investigation was to focus on psychological characteristics, particularly depression, and their relation to this awareness and service utilization status.


To date, 707 study participants, ranging in ages of 26-100, have undergone a structured interview to ascertain relevant demographic information. They have also responded to a number of psychological questionnaires, including the Visual Function Index (VF-14), Brief COPE, and CES Depression Scale. During the interview, respondents’ permission was requested to access their agency files if they had sought rehabilitation services in the past.


Overall, 54% of study participants had received rehabilitation services, 32% were unaware and 13% had decided not to utilize these services. Of the total sample, 33% show evidence of significant depressive symptoms. Additionally, individuals who were not aware of rehabilitation services, scored higher on the depression scale than those who had received services, F(2,590)= 3.17, P=.043. Of those who had depressive symptoms and had received rehabilitation services, only 28% had been told that psychological services could be provided at the agency. Depressive symptoms were also correlated with the Brief COPE (R= -.134, P= .002) and VF-14 scores (R= -.23, P= .000).


The present study demonstrates that individuals with acquired visual impairments are at risk for depression, more so if they have not sought rehabilitation services. Unfortunately, few of those who received vision rehabilitation were informed of psychological services that may have been provided at the agency. Clearly, eye-care and rehabilitation professionals must be made more aware of this at risk population.

Keywords: low vision • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • aging 

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