Effectiveness of the community-based Low Vision Service Wales: a long-term outcome study
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Aims To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the community-based Low Vision Service Wales (LVSW). Methods A long-term observational study of the Government-funded, community-based, low-vision rehabilitation service which operates in over 180 optometry practices in Wales. Participants were recruited from the LVSW (n=342; 246 women; median age 82 years) at baseline (before the Low Vision intervention). The primary outcome measure was change in visual disability as evaluated by the seven-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ). Change was measured on the same cohort at three separate time points, and comparisons were made between these: baseline–3 months; 3–18 months; baseline–18 months. Secondary outcome measures included: use of low-vision aids (LVAs) and satisfaction with the service provided. Results Questionnaires were sent to 281 participants (whose visual disability had been measured at baseline and 3 months) at 18 months postintervention. Responses were received from 190 (67.6%) people; 24 were deceased. Self-reported visual disability was significantly reduced (Wilcoxon Signed Rank (WSR) test: p<0.001) between baseline and 18 months by −0.28 logits (−1.24 to 0.52). This was less than that found between baseline and 3 months; −0.61 logits (−1.81 to 0.02). At 18 months, 79% patients used their LVAs at least once a week which was not significantly different to that found at 3 months (WSR: p=0.127). Conclusions This study provides evidence that the effect of the LVSW persists over a period of 18 months; disability is reduced from baseline, and use of LVAs remains high.