The quality of life in patients with low vision can be improved with home-based visual rehabilitation. Researchers found that home visits by rehabilitation specialists can significantly improve visual function in people whose vision cannot be corrected with contact lenses or glasses, compared to those who received standard treatment through hospitals or community-based services.
Researcher Prof. Tom Margrain explained, ‘With low vision affecting around two million people in the U.K., it’s important to identify visual rehabilitation services that can improve the independence and quality of life of those with sight loss. We already know that visual rehabilitation is beneficial to people with low vision, but what we don’t know is the best method of delivery. Our new research reveals that a home visit system is very beneficial, delivering care and advice that can promote independence and recover lost skills.”
Dan Pescod, RNIB’s Head of Campaigns, added “This study is a useful addition to growing evidence about the efficacy of vision rehabilitation in helping blind and partially sighted people to live independently. The research also reinforces the importance of RNIB’s See, Plan and Provide campaign, which calls for better access to timely, high-quality vision rehabilitation support.”
For the study, 67 participants were divided into two groups for a period of six months. One half received regular rehabilitation in their homes, while the other half received standard routine care.
During their home visits, rehabilitation specialists assessed the needs of the patients in aspects such as functional vision, lighting, safety, personal hygiene, and medication management, to name a few. Training and support were then customized based on the individual needs of a particular patient. Nearly 70 percent of the home visits were rated as “extremely helpful,” with kitchen training being reported as the most helpful aspect.
Prof. Margrain concluded, “Up until now there has been a distinct lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of the social care delivered by home rehabilitation, undermining this service and resulting in reduced availability in several parts of the U.K. Our study proves that a visual rehabilitation officer can make a real difference to the lives of people with low vision, catering to the individual’s needs in their daily surroundings.”