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Effectiveness of the community-based Low Vision Service Wales: a long-term outcome study
  1. Barbara Ryan1,
  2. Jyoti Khadka2,
  3. Catey Bunce3,
  4. Helen Court1
  1. 1School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Discipline of Optometry and Vision Science, NH&MRC Centre for Clinical Eye Research, Flinders University of South Australia, South Australia, Australia
  3. 3Moorfields Eye Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Barbara Ryan, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK; ryanb{at}cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the community-based Low Vision Service Wales (LVSW).

Methods A long-term observational study of the Government-funded, community-based, low-vision rehabilitation service which operates in over 180 optometry practices in Wales. Participants were recruited from the LVSW (n=342; 246 women; median age 82 years) at baseline (before the Low Vision intervention). The primary outcome measure was change in visual disability as evaluated by the seven-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ). Change was measured on the same cohort at three separate time points, and comparisons were made between these: baseline–3 months; 3–18 months; baseline–18 months. Secondary outcome measures included: use of low-vision aids (LVAs) and satisfaction with the service provided.

Results Questionnaires were sent to 281 participants (whose visual disability had been measured at baseline and 3 months) at 18 months postintervention. Responses were received from 190 (67.6%) people; 24 were deceased. Self-reported visual disability was significantly reduced (Wilcoxon Signed Rank (WSR) test: p<0.001) between baseline and 18 months by −0.28 logits (−1.24 to 0.52). This was less than that found between baseline and 3 months; −0.61 logits (−1.81 to 0.02). At 18 months, 79% patients used their LVAs at least once a week which was not significantly different to that found at 3 months (WSR: p=0.127).

Conclusions This study provides evidence that the effect of the LVSW persists over a period of 18 months; disability is reduced from baseline, and use of LVAs remains high.

  • Rehabilitation
  • Low vision aid

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