Visual impairment in the elderly and its impact on their daily lives
The purpose of this descriptive study was twofold: (1) to identify visual problems in the elderly, and (2) to identify the consequences of decreased vision in the elderly person's daily life. The Roy (1980, 1984) Adaptation Model was used as the theoretical framework. This study was conducted at a local community health center providing health services to qualified indigent persons. The convenience sample consisted of 88 adults, ranging in age from 60 to 89 years. Three instruments were used: The Lighthouse Near and Distance Acuity Tests, and the researcher-designed Inventory of Functional Visual Status (IFVS). The IFVS was administered to each subject. Then the participant's near and distant vision was measured.
A review of the literature provided information on the consequences of decreased visual acuity in the elderly which aided the development of the 64-item IFVS. The inventory encompassed demographic data, and dimensions of function necessary to adapt independently, such as Management of Medications, Transportation, Mobility, Shopping, Food Preparation, and Leisure Activities arranged in subscales.
The following research questions were asked: (1) What is the prevalence of visual impairment in the elderly? The number of persons impaired to an acuity level of 20/100 or less was less than one-fifth of the total sample. (2) What is the degree of visual impairment in the elderly? A majority of the sample possessed measured moderate visual acuity. (3) What are the effects of visual impairment on selected activities? The majority of the participants reported minimal if any effects on their daily life arising from visual impairment. (4) What types of self-reported adaptations do individuals undergo in their lives to adjust to decreased vision? Among the many adaptations reported were receiving help with shopping and meal preparation. (5) What is the relationship between visual impairment and the self-reported adaptations? A significant relationship was found between vision and mobility and assistance in taking medications.