Disparities in awareness and use of low-vision rehabilitation.
Mwilambwe A, Wittich W, Freeman EE.
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC.
To describe the demographic, visual, health, and psychological variables associated with awareness and use of low-vision rehabilitation services in Montreal, Que.
Hospital-based cross-sectional study.
Four hundred forty-eight patients with best-corrected visual acuity worse than 20/70 in their better eye recruited from 4 ophthalmology departments.
Patients answered questions about their awareness and use of low-vision services. Visual acuity was recorded and patients answered the Brief Cope and Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression Scale questionnaires and provided information on demographics and health status. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of awareness and use of low-vision rehabilitation services.
A majority of patients in the sample (71%) were aware of low-vision rehabilitation. Of those who were aware, 81% reported participating in low-vision rehabilitation. Black patients, those whose first language was French, those with less severe visual acuity loss, and those who reported less acceptance on the Brief Cope questionnaire were less likely to know about low-vision services (p < 0.05). Of those who knew about low-vision services, those with less severe visual acuity loss were less likely to have participated in low-vision services (p < 0.05).
It is important that all those who qualify for low-vision rehabilitation services can access them. Although the patients in this Montreal area study showed a high rate of awareness and use of low-vision rehabilitation, awareness and use could be improved in certain demographic populations and in those with less severe vision loss.