A New Study Investigates the Abandonment Rate of Low Vision Devices

The front cover of Optometry and Vision Science

As a longtime vision rehabilitation and low vision therapist, I was very interested to read Abandonment of Low-Vision Devices in an Outpatient Population, which has been published online ahead-of-print as an article abstract in Optometry and Vision Science, the official publication of the American Academy of Optometry.

Optometry and Vision Science publishes current developments in optometry, physiological optics, and vision science, and promotes interdisciplinary exchange among optometrists and vision scientists worldwide.

The article authors are Bradley E. Dougherty, Ohio State University College of Optometry; K. Bradley Kehler, Vanderbilt Eye Institute; Richard Jamara, New England College of Optometry; Nicole Patterson, Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry; Denise Valenti, Harvard Vanguard; and Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz, New England College of Optometry and Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School.

About the Study (from the article abstract)

The purpose of the study was to investigate the abandonment rate of prescribed low vision devices for near tasks, along with factors associated with device abandonment in a U.S. outpatient population:


A telephone survey was administered to 88 patients with low vision from four clinical sites about one year after a low vision examination and prescription of devices. Patients were surveyed on the timing and frequency of low vision device use and reasons for abandonment of low vision devices. “Abandonment” was defined as a patient report of no use of a prescribed low vision device in the previous three months.


Of 119 prescribed devices, 19% had not been used within the previous three months. Device abandonment was not associated with age, time since prescription, visual acuity, or category of magnification device (spectacle, handheld, stand, or video).

There was a significant association between documented non-central visual field loss and abandonment of a magnification device.


The abandonment rate of prescribed low vision devices was similar for this outpatient population to those previously reported in the U.S. veteran inpatient population and in other countries.

Patients with non-central visual field loss may be more likely to abandon prescribed devices.

I look forward to reading the published article and I thank the authors for drawing the optometry profession’s attention to the need for continuing research about the needs of adults who are prescribed low vision devices for critical daily living and reading tasks.