Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of vision loss among adults. About 22 percent to 36 percent of all diabetics in the United States and Australia suffer from the condition. Vision impairment caused by the disease often leads to dependency in activities of daily living, social isolation, and reduced physical activity.When the visual acuity in the better eye drops below 20/40, many patients begin to experience ill effects.
A recent study compared lifestyle restrictions for 45 patients with diabetic retinopathy with an average age of about 67. Nearly 70 percent had worse than 20/60 vision in the better eye and the rest had worse than 20/40. All filled out standard questionnaires aimed at measuring the impact of their vision loss on their ability to participate in normal life activities. The median length of time patients had suffered from vision loss was two years.
Results show vision loss stemming from diabetic retinopathy had the biggest impact on reading print, mobility, work, and leisure. Vision loss had a lesser effect on emotional reaction to vision loss and household and personal care areas.
Based on their findings researchers conclude that , low-vision rehabilitation services with programs aiming to improve outdoor mobility, print reading, participation in leisure activities, and psychological health could be an effective strategy to help individuals with DR increase their participation in activities of daily living.