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Judith Renaud, Olga Overbury, Marie-José Durand; Is Social Participation Level Related To Level Of Visual Impairment?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):4239.
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Social participation is becoming an important outcome in rehabilitation interventions. However, few studies have documented participation of visually impaired older adults who have received rehabilitation services. The purpose of this study was (1) to document participation in daily activities and social roles in visually impaired older adults who had received rehabilitation services several years prior to the interview and (2) to investigate if their participation differed depending on their level of impairment.
This cross-sectional study involved 130 visually impaired older adults, aged 69 and older (mean = 83 years ± 6.2) who were recruited at a specialized low vision rehabilitation center in Québec, Canada. The participants were interviewed at home. Participation in daily activities and in social roles was measured with the Assessment of Life Habits (LIFE-H) which includes 12 life domains. Participants were divided into three groups based on best-corrected visual acuity of their better eye. Level of impairment was defined according to the World Health Organization categories. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to examine if participation in daily activities and in social roles differs according to the level of visual impairment.
Compared to normative data from previous studies of older adults without visual impairment, the subjects’ overall participation was significantly lower (6.2/9±1.1 vs 8.3/9±0.4). LIFE-H indicated moderate restrictions in participation, with social roles (5.7/9±1.5) being more restricted than daily activities (6.6/9±1.0). Participation in daily activities as well as in social roles was significantly more restricted with a higher level of visual impairment (p <= 0.001).
These findings reveal participation restriction in older adults with visual impairment compared to a healthy aging population. This study also suggests that participation differs depending of the level of visual impairment.
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