With increasing numbers of older people in the population, the number of people confronted with a visual impairment at an older age increases as well. This change will have medical and social impacts. A recent study examines the social dimensions of visual impairment in old age. The aim was to describe the living conditions and quality of life of affected people. Older people with severe visual impairment (22 people over 65 aged) were interviewed. In addition, a panel of experts (N = 14) provided input for the study. Findings showed that a visual impairment occurring at an older age has a strong impact on quality of life, the pursuit of everyday activities, the daily routine, as well as on the mobility and the maintenance of social contacts. Being confronted with a visual impairment generally requires acceptance of an additional loss of autonomy. It is becoming apparent in the study that ophthalmic practices are important mediators in the medico-social network of resources. The ophthalmological intervention should be, whenever possible, supplemented by specialized counselling centres.
Duration of the project: 07/2013 – 04/2014