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R. Kammer, C. Sell; Survey of Optometric Low Vision Rehabilitation Training Methods for the Moderately Visually Impaired. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3555.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To examine the low vision rehabilitation practices of optometrists to establish the degree to which rehabilitation training is performed when prescribing for patients with moderate visual impairment.
2392 optometrists were surveyed using an 18 item instrument. The initial items of the survey queried information such as practice setting and educational background. The remainder of the items were arranged with frequency-based answers (all, most, some or none of the time) with regard to current training practices when prescribing low vision near devices for patients with moderate visual impairment caused by ARMD. The training items queried how often clinicians incorporated optical device instruction (e.g. focal length) and other specific strategies (e.g. eccentric viewing) in their rehabilitation plan.
The response rate was 5.7%. 70% of the136 respondents were private practitioners. Approximately 50% of all optometrists received their training solely through the standard low vision curriculum at their graduating institution. Most practitioners spent less than 25% of their office time with low vision patients. 54% of all clinicians agreed that they train patients for one hour or less and only 10% provide training for three or more hours. Over 70% never perform training in the patient’s home which correlates with the fact that 54% of optometrists perform the training themselves and only15% utilize an occupational therapist. Based on grouping the responses (all and most of the time, versus some or none of the time) 80% of clinicians incorporate certain aspects of training with high frequency (e.g. optical device training, functional activities, variation based on the goals of the patient). Approximately 60% incorporate certain training strategies with low frequency (e.g. home activities or eccentric viewing).
This survey demonstrates that most low vision optometrists in a private practice setting do not provide extended training to their moderately impaired patients, do not train in the home, nor utilize a low vision therapist. These results support the need for clinical research that will establish an efficacious and cost effective model for low vision rehabilitation training for moderately visually impaired individuals. Future studies should explore the views and practices of clinicians for other visual impairment levels and conditions.
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