May 2014 — Trouble reading is the most commonly reported problem of people with low vision, regardless of the underlying cause of their vision loss, according to a new study.
The Low Vision Rehabilitation Outcomes Study recruited 819 patients seeking low vision services at 28 clinical centers in the United States between 2008 and 2011. Before their appointment, new patients were asked, "What are your chief complaints about your vision?"
Difficulty reading was the most common complaint, reported by 66.4 percent of patients. Other functional difficulties included driving (27.8 percent), using magnifiers and other vision aids (17.5 percent), mobility (16.3 percent), performing normal in-home activities (15.1 percent), problems associated with lighting and glare (11.7 percent), and trouble recognizing faces and engaging socially (10.3 percent).
The likelihood of reading difficulties increased mildly with age but did not differ significantly with changes in visual acuity. Women were more likely to report difficulty with in-home activities, facial recognition and social interactions, whereas men were more likely to report trouble driving and difficulties related to lighting. Mobility concerns, defined as difficulty walking and performing away-from-home activities, showed no relationship to gender, age or visual acuity.
The study authors concluded that since difficulty reading was the most common complaint, reading rehabilitation should be a cornerstone of low vision care. A report of the study was published online by the journal Ophthalmologyin April. — G.H.