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Macular degeneration: do conventional measurements of impaired visual function equate with visual disability?
  1. M E McClurea,
  2. P M Harta,
  3. A J Jacksona,
  4. M R Stevensonb,
  5. U Chakravarthya
  1. aDivision of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, The Queen's University of Belfast and Royal Group of Hospitals, Belfast BT12 6BA, bHealth and Social Care Research Unit, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT12 6BA
  1. M E McClure, Low Vision and Contact Lens Clinic, Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Group of Hospitals, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BA

Abstract

AIMS To examine the relation between measures of vision and ability to perform daily living tasks in those visually impaired with macular degeneration.

METHODS A visual functioning index (daily living tasks dependent on vision: DLTV) was used to evaluate patients' perception of their ability to perform vision dependent tasks. Distance visual acuity, near visual acuity, reading speed, and contrast sensitivity were measured in all patients. In addition, a new measure of reading ability was derived, designated the reading index. This takes into account both the size of the text read and the time to read it and is equivalent to the reading speed in words per minute divided by text size in M.

RESULTS The reading index was found to show best associations with the majority of items within the DLTV. Stepwise regression identified the combination of reading index and distance visual acuity as having the best associations with DLTV items. The present study also demonstrated that specific levels of vision as measured by acuity, reading index, and contrast sensitivity corresponded with different perceived amounts of difficulty in the performance of daily living tasks.

CONCLUSIONS This study showed that reading index is valuable in predicting the ability to perform daily living tasks and therefore may be useful in the visual assessment of the visually impaired individual. In addition, this study identified specific levels of vision at which individuals reported different degrees of difficulty in performing daily living tasks.

  • macular degeneration
  • visual functioning index
  • reading index
  • visual disability
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