June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Seeing New Challenges: The Impact of COVID on a Diverse Sample of Adults with Vision Impairment in SE Michigan
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alec Bernard
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Sara Weiss
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Moshiur Rahman
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Joshua D. Stein
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Michelle Buck
    Henry Ford Center for Vision Rehabilitation & Research, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Marc Thomas
    Henry Ford Health System Department of Ophthalmology, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Ann Riddering
    Center for Vision and Neuro Rehabilitation & Research, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Paul A Edwards
    Henry Ford Health System Department of Ophthalmology, Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Joshua R Ehrlich
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Alec Bernard None; Sara Weiss None; Moshiur Rahman None; Joshua Stein None; Michelle Buck None; Marc Thomas None; Ann Riddering None; Paul Edwards None; Joshua Ehrlich None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 3389 – A0176. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Alec Bernard, Sara Weiss, Moshiur Rahman, Joshua D. Stein, Michelle Buck, Marc Thomas, Ann Riddering, Paul A Edwards, Joshua R Ehrlich; Seeing New Challenges: The Impact of COVID on a Diverse Sample of Adults with Vision Impairment in SE Michigan. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):3389 – A0176.

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

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Abstract

Purpose : The disruption of COVID-19 has caused differential impacts on vulnerable populations. This study tested the hypothesis that persons with visual impairment in Ann Arbor and Detroit, MI faced increased difficulty in their daily lives since summer 2020 during the pandemic compared to normally sighted individuals.

Methods : We administered the Coronavirus Disability Survey (COV-DIS) to assess general and psychological health, isolation, financial and transportation challenges, information access and instrumental activities of daily living. Our study population included 112 adults recruited from the University of Michigan (UM) Health System and 151 adults recruited from the Henry Ford Health System (HF) in Detroit, MI with moderate or worse visual impairment (<20/60 in better-seeing eye), and 160 age/sex-matched controls (C). The COV-DIS was administered via phone or email. The UM IRB approved this study and all participants provided informed consent.

Results : There were no significant site differences in age or visual acuity of participants. Participants with visual impairment at Henry Ford (VIHF) lived in more disadvantaged neighborhoods (higher Area Deprivation Index) compared with UM participants with visual impairment (VIUM) (66 VIHF 52 VIUM; p<.01). All groups reported similar overall health prior to the pandemic. However, a greater proportion of VIHF participants reported somewhat or much worse health than pre-pandemic compared with VIUM or controls (C) (25% VIHF, 10% VIUM, 12% C; p=.003). Participants with visual impairment had more difficulty accessing medical care since the start of the pandemic (13% VI, 6% C; p=.049). One-quarter of participants reported difficulty obtaining trusted information during the pandemic; those with vision impairment were more likely to find the information hard to understand (10% VI, 3% C; p=.01).

Conclusions : COVID-19 and associated mitigation measures had differential effects on populations with visual impairment. Participants with visual impairment in Detroit were more likely to report a negative impact on their health than participants from Ann Arbor, MI. Those with visual impairment in both locations faced greater challenges accessing medical care and trusted and understandable information related to the pandemic. This information may be helpful for shaping health policy to address the barriers faced by individuals with visual impairment.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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