Rehabilitation of the visually handicapped with advanced macular degeneration. A follow-up study at the Low Vision Clinic, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Linköping

Doc Ophthalmol. 1986 May 15;62(4):345-67. doi: 10.1007/BF00168266.


Hundred-and-twenty patients with advanced macular degeneration (senile, disciform, and hereditary forms), which could not be helped in a satisfactory way by simple magnifying aids, were studied for an average of 5 years (a minimum of 3 years), during which they had access to a full range of low vision rehabilitation measures including advanced optical aids and educational methods for training in the use of these aids and in the utilization of residual vision. The mean age of the patients was 72 years. They were all in a mental condition enabling them to understand and follow instructions. Just over half the patients were obliged to learn from the outset how to utilize peripheral retina, i.e. through eccentric viewing, high magnification low vision aids and very short reading distances, a mean of 4.4 cm, which demand specially qualified educational methods for low vision training. (A second group of 198 patients with macular degeneration was handled by the optician alone because either macular degeneration was moderate and the patients could manage with simple optical aids, or the patients were in such a bad mental condition, obvious already from the referral documents, that they were unable to use sophisticated aids in spite of the fact that they would have needed them with regard to their poor vision.) Telescopes were the most frequent aid used for distance, having a mean magnification of 4.6 X. Among the aids for reading, the most common were increased near additions and hyperocular lenses, having a mean power of 22.6 dioptres (magnification 5.7 X). Aids were also furnished for intermediate distance and for 'spot use'. The mean number of series of visits was 2.5 and the number of training sessions (1 h) per series of visits was 3.0. Mean visual acuity improved from 0.18 to 0.64 with aids and training on the first series of visits, and reached 0.53 by the last series. The number of patients able to read TV titles increased from 6.7% to 57.5% and was 49.2% after the last series of visits. The number of individuals able to read newspaper text increased from 0.8% to 92.5%. After the last series of visits, the number was still as high as 80.0%. The results show that the presented methods for rehabilitation of patients with macular degeneration through optical aids and educational methods for training in the utilization of these aids and of residual vision are outstandingly successful. The use of the individual's vision and his situation in life often improve dramatically.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Macular Degeneration / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reading
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Acuity