April 18, 2017 – Low Vision and OT


Anchor lead: Can occupational therapy help people with compromised vision avoid depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Depression is common in people with vision loss, especially as it comprises their ability to function. Now research by Ashley Deemer and colleagues at Johns Hopkins shows that when occupational therapy that teaches people with low vision how to cope in their homes is offered, depression develops less frequently and is less severe when it does, when compared to people offered supportive therapy alone.

Deemer: Those patients were then randomized into two different categories. Both received low vision rehabilitation services and then they were either given occupational therapy treatment in the home, which focused on problem solving, using different devices, behavior activation or more working at trying to solve some of the functional problems they were having around the house. And the other group got supportive therapy from a social worker who came into the home. The people who ended up developing depression were more so in the supportive therapy group than in the occupational therapy group. :31

Deemer says it is cost-effective to provide at-home services although devices needed by those with low vision are frequently not covered by insurance. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.