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M. B. Coco, J. Pastor Jimeno, I. Fernández, R. Coco, R. Cuadrado, J. de Lázaro; Training Reading Performance Might Improve Depression in Low Vision Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4110.
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It is accepted that in low vision patients, reading training techniques may improve the visual performance allowing to achieve important goals for their daily life activities. But most of these patients have also variable degrees of depression that might improve with visual success. The goal of this work has been to verify, in a small sample, this hypothesis.
21 patients with central field defects were invited to follow a low vision protocol exam including: near Visual Acuity (VA), refraction and magnification. Four training sessions of 30 minutes were performed for reading performance, speed and comprehension using a reading program specially designed for this work. The grade of anxiety and depression were also measured before and after the training using the Spielberger Scale and Yesevage Scale for the Older respectively. Finally, patients were asked to answer a quality of life questionnaire (WHOQoL-Bref) to find out the influence of their vision loss on their daily activities before and after the training. Non parametric tests have been used for statistical analysis.
Twenty-one patients were studied. Most of them (n=19) had ARMD. Mean age was of 78.6 years (SD±7.7). There was a statistically significant improvement (p=0.0018) in near VA. Initial VA was 1.117 M (metric scale) (SD±0.6029) and final VA was 0.744M (SD±0.1653). There were statistically significant differences for reading speed (RS) measures in visit number 4 (p=0.0001). Mean of initial RS was of 54.10 words per minute (wpm) (SD±20.89) and mean final RS was of 98.25 wpm (SD±33.76). There were also statistically significant differences in 9 of the 10 questions of the Yesevage Scale for depression after the training (p=0.05).
Training programs get a better reading performance in some patients with central vision loss and benefit their quality of life. But reading training programs can be also an important tool to motivate the autonomy of the visually handicapped, which will imply an improvement in the grade of depression of patients with central vision loss. Further studies will be necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.
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