Purpose: (1) to document participation in daily activities and social roles of older adults seeking services for visual impairment (VI) and compare it with that of the older population without VI or other disabilities, and (2) to explore correlates of their participation.
Methods: The 64 participants (46 women) had an average age of 79.3 years (SD = 5.9 years) and presented various types of VI. Participants were interviewed at home to collect information regarding their visual function (National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-25), sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, including depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale), and participation (Assessment of Life Habits/LIFE-H). Each participant was matched with another person without disabilities randomly recruited from the community. Results for the two populations on the Life-H participation domains were compared using t-tests. In the group with VI, general information (independent variables) was examined in relation to participation main scores (dependent variables), followed by multiple linear regression analyses.
Results: Participation in daily activities and social roles of participants with VI (mean +/- SD (/9) = 6.8 +/- 1.0 and 5.6 +/- 1.6, respectively) was significantly lower than that of participants without VI (8.1 +/- 0.4 and 8.3 +/- 0.4) (p < 0.0001). Depressive symptoms and perceived quality of distance vision were the strongest correlates and together explained more than 65% of the variance in the participation scores of the subjects with VI.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the participation restrictions associated with VI and underlines the importance of psychological aspects in participation.