Severe visual impairment in older women

West J Nurs Res. 2000 Aug;22(5):571-88; discussion 588-95. doi: 10.1177/01939450022044601.


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to uncover the meaning of severe visual impairment to older women diagnosed with macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in older adults. The research question for the study was, What is the lived experience of severe visual impairment in older women diagnosed with macular degeneration? Participants were eight women, aged 63 to 85 years, who had been diagnosed with macular degeneration and who had severe visual deficits. Data were gathered through audiotaped interviews. Interview recordings were transcribed and later analyzed using a modified Giorgi methodology. The meaning of severe visual impairment emerged as "persisting toward unfolding ways of being in the world sparked by personal discoveries amidst enveloping losses while embracing a realistic awareness with steadfast positivism." Findings from this study were congruent with the theory of Human Becoming. Study findings highlight factors that may place older women with severe visual deficits at risk for lower levels of well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / psychology*
  • Vision, Low / etiology
  • Vision, Low / psychology*