Journal Club Discussion #2: Low Vision

Hey readers! Today’s journal club discussion will be about low vision. Low vision has recently become an area of practice that interests me after hearing a little bit about it from one of my professors who specializes in it. I also have a client at work who is blind, and after starting OT school I feel like I work with him in an entirely different way. I see his interests as occupations and am really motivated to enable him to participate in all of the group projects and lessons that I lead at work. You can find this article if you are an AOTA member using this link:

Background Info: Hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide have low vision, and so many of those individuals also need occupational therapy. This article aimed to assess the accessibility of OT intervention materials that are provided to clients/patients with low vision. After all, OT is all about participating in daily activities…so we have to make sure that our clients can participate in our interventions! In order to complete this study, the researchers conducted interviews to gain the following information:

  1. What are the barriers of access to intervention?
  2. What improves readability of intervention materials?
  3. What is an ideal way for intervention materials to be presented?

The Results: Overall, the main barrier to access is transportation and community mobility, including weariness of new environments. Readability can be improved with font size and style, contrast, and text organization. Ideal interventions include written materials that use the aforementioned font criteria, as well as the option for audible rather than written intervention education.

What I Think: Be aware! If one of your clients has low vision, make sure that the information that you give them is presented in a way that they can read and/or understand. Providing audible directions is a technique that I use with my client who is blind all the time at work. It is also really fun to add objects for him to feel or hold during lessons so that he can participate with his peers who do not have low vision. The type of intervention materials that you use in practice always have to match the needs of the client!

Question of the Week: Do you work with clients with low vision? If so, how do you present intervention materials to them? Comment below!

Citation: Blaylock, S., Vogtle, L., & Warren, M. (2017). Development of Accessible Interventions for Older Adults with Low Vision. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2017.71S1-RP301B

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