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J. E. Keeffe, K. L. Francis, C. D. Luu, N. Barnes, E. L. Lamoureux, R. H. Guymer; Expectations of a Visual Prosthesis: Perspectives From People With Impaired Vision. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):6020.
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To investigate the priorities and functional vision needs of people with profound vision impairment to guide the development of a functionally relevant visual prosthesis. Willingness to trade-off inconvenience to obtain a visual prosthesis and undergo training was also investigated.
Eligible participants were adults with moderate to profound vision impairment. Four focus groups with 7 or 8 participants in each group were conducted to explore expectations from a visual prosthesis. Topics explored included difficult aspects of daily life where vision would be useful, important aspects of vision to improve functioning, and trading any inconvenience that might be experienced to gain a visual prosthesis. All content from the focus groups was recorded and transcribed. Output was analysed using NVivo to explore major themes raised by participants.
Thirty one adults aged 39- 84 years with impaired vision (16 females) took part in the focus groups. Personal interest in the visual prosthesis varied from strong interest to none. People with late onset of vision impairment sought a higher level of functional vision from the visual prosthesis such as enabling them to read and drive again. Those who had been vision impaired from a young age and those with severe to profound vision impairment had more modest demands from a visual prosthesis. This varied from vision for orientation to a light source, to ability to detect objects for safe mobility. Willingness to trade inconvenience varied from being unwilling to trade any inconvenience to readiness to trade for improved vision.
People with severe to profound vision impairment have varied requirements with regard to a visual prosthesis. Not all people wanted to regain vision via a visual prosthesis and others had very modest demands for vision. Many ultimate users however did seek good functional vision. Willingness to trade any inconvenience was influenced by the quality of vision likely to be obtained with a visual prosthesis.
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