Emotional well-being in older people with vision loss: A systematic review of qualitative studies

This source preferred by Samuel Nyman

Authors: Nyman, S.R., Gosney, M.A., Victor, C.R. and Sadiq, S.


Start date: 2 September 2009

Vision loss is common in old age and is projected to rise with an ageing population. As well as a potential threat to everyday functioning, vision loss can have negative implications for an older person’s emotional well-being. We reviewed the qualitative literature for data that explored the lived experience of and adjustment to acquired vision loss in later life with a focus on emotional well-being. We systematically reviewed studies published between January 1980 and September 2008 that employed qualitative methods for both data collection and data analysis.

Fifteen studies were included that identified six themes: 1. The emotional response to vision loss as a process 2. The impact of the loss of independence 3. Factors influencing help seeking behaviour 4. Unhelpful views and behaviours of others 5. Information needs 6. The emotional support potential for a group-based health education programme

The studies supported previous quantitative evidence and emphasised three novel themes: adaptation to vision loss to be framed as a process, for which we use the grief cycle (Kübler-Ross, 1969); the importance of independence and in particular the sense of loss that accompanies driving cessation; and factors that may deter older people with vision loss - and men in particular - from seeking information and practical support. Further research is required to investigate the effectiveness of interventions informing and supporting relatives and significant others of individuals with vision loss, and the potential for a group-based health education programme to alleviate the emotional impact of vision loss.

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