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Authors
Bittner, Ava Katherine OD, PhD, FAAO; Yoshinaga, Patrick OD, MPH, FAAO; Bowers, Angie MOT, OTR/L; Shepherd, John D. MD; Succar, Tony PhD, MSc; Ross, Nicole C. OD, MSc, FAAO

Feasibility of Telerehabilitation for Low Vision: Satisfaction Ratings by Providers and Patients

publication date
May 7, 2018
Category
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Abstract/Introduction

SIGNIFICANCE 

This pilot study demonstrated feasibility and acceptability of telerehabilitation between a provider in-office and a low vision patient at home as an approach to provide follow-up care to improve reading ability with magnification devices and that would help overcome barriers related to transportation and paucity of providers.

PURPOSE 

A recent systematic review found no publications with results on the topic of telerehabilitation for low vision. Our goal was to perform the initial steps to develop, administer, refine, and evaluate components required to deliver follow-up low vision telerehabilitation services.

METHODS 

Three low vision providers (ophthalmic technician or optometrist) conducted telerehabilitation sessions from their office with 10 visually impaired older adults in their homes, who recently received a handheld magnification device for reading and self-reported difficulty with returning for follow-up training at their provider's office. All except one participant had never used videoconferencing before our study, and three had never used the Internet. Participants and providers rated the use of loaner hardware devices (i.e., tablets, MiFi mobile hotspot) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–compliant, secure videoconference services during telerehabilitation sessions at which participants read MNREAD cards and received feedback on magnifier use.


Conclusion/Results

RESULTS 

Providers reported little to no difficulty with evaluating participants' reading speed, reading accuracy, and working distance with their magnifier. Both providers and participants rated video quality as excellent to good. Audio quality ratings were variable, generally related to signal strength or technical issues during some sessions. All participants agreed that they were satisfied and comfortable receiving telerehabilitation and evaluation via videoconferencing. Eight of 10 reported that their magnifier use improved after telerehabilitation. All except one reported that they were very interested in receiving telerehabilitation services again if their visual needs change.

CONCLUSIONS 

Positive feedback from both participants and providers in this pilot study supports the feasibility, acceptability, and potential value of low vision telerehabilitation.


Testimonials


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.


Amy Fagerness
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