Boston, MA An educational and motivational video, designed to increase emotional well-being and use of adaptive devices in low vision patients increased knowledge but did not change behavior or emotions, says Schepens Eye Research Institute scientists in a study in the March Issue of Optometry & Vision Science.
"While our video clearly succeeded in increasing patients' knowledge of macular degeneration and the availability of adaptive devices and techniques, it did not change their emotional response to their disease or motivate them to make changes that could improve their quality of life," says Dr. Eli Peli, senior scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute and senior author of the study The Impact of a Video Intervention on the Use of Low Vision Assistive Devices. "These findings suggest that patients need more than a video to encourage them to make changes and improve their feelings about their plight," he adds.
More than one million Americans and millions more worldwide suffer from low vision caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which destroys the tiny center of the retina known as the macula. It is the leading cause of (legal) blindness among European-descended people older than 65 years. Without assistive devices and adaptive behaviors, sufferers of AMD are often unable to perform daily tasks such as reading, writing, driving, and face recognition, which can cause a loss of self-esteem, employment, independence and social interaction. Low vision patients experience emotions ranging from depression to despair and might even entertain thoughts about suicide. "And, while many useful assistive devices and adaptive techniques exist, patient and physician awareness of these possibilities is alarmingly low," says Peli.
Peli and colleagues from the New England Research Institute joined forces with the National Eye Institute to develop a contrast-enhanced video called "Hope in Sight: Living with Macular Degeneration.
Contact: Patti Jacobs
Schepens Eye Research Institute