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For Visually Impaired, Early Offer of Low Vision Rehab May Be Best

Duration of symptoms linked to likelihood of having made a positive personal choice

MONDAY, Jan. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Several factors, including duration of symptoms, influence the decision to seek low vision rehabilitation services, according to a study published in the January issue of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics.

Sarah A. Fraser, Ph.D., from McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues examined critical factors indicative of an individual's choice to access low vision rehabilitation services. A structured interview and questionnaires were administered to 749 visually impaired individuals. Seventy-five factors were assessed to determine awareness group: positive personal choice, negative personal choice, and lack of information.

The researchers found that making a positive personal choice to seek rehabilitation was indicated by having a response of moderate to no difficulty on item 6 (reading signs) of the Visual Function Index 14 (VF-14); having a great deal of difficulty on this item correlated with lack of information on low vision rehabilitation. Those who were more likely to have made a positive personal choice had symptom duration of under nine years, moderate difficulty or less on item 5 (seeing steps or curbs) of the VF-14, and little difficulty or less on item 3 (reading large print) of the VF-14. Males and those with greater difficulty on items 3 and 5 of the VF-14 were more likely to be in the lack of information group.

"The duration-of-symptoms factor suggests that, even in the positive choice group, it may be best to offer rehabilitation services early," the authors write.

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