Visual impairment, coping strategies and impact on daily life: A qualitative study among working-age UK ex-service personnel Health behavior, health promotion and society

Sharon A M Stevelink*, Estelle M. Malcolm, Nicola T. Fear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Sustaining a visual impairment may have a substantial impact on various life domains such as work, interpersonal relations, mobility and social and mental well-being. How to adjust to the loss of vision and its consequences might be a challenge for the visually impaired person. The purpose of the current study was to explore how younger male ex-Service personnel cope with becoming visually impaired and how this affects their daily life. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 30 visually impaired male ex-Service personnel, all under the age of 55, were conducted. All participants are members of the charity organisation Blind Veterans UK. Interviews were analysed thematically. Results: Younger ex-Service personnel applied a number of different strategies to overcome their loss of vision and its associated consequences. Coping strategies varied from learning new skills, goal setting, integrating the use of low vision aids in their daily routine, to social withdrawal and substance misuse. Vision loss affected on all aspects of daily life and ex-Service personnel experienced an on-going struggle to accept and adjust to becoming visually impaired. Conclusions: Health care professionals, family and friends of the person with the visual impairment need to be aware that coping with a visual impairment is a continuous struggle; even after a considerable amount of time has passed, needs for emotional, social, practical and physical support may still be present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1118
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Blindness
  • Coping
  • Disability
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Military
  • Well-being

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