Anglia Ruskin University
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Psychological impact of vision loss

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-30, 20:14 authored by Heather Boagey, Jasleen K. Jolly, Anne Ferrey
A diagnosis of conditions leading to vision loss can be devastating and often impacts mental health. Understanding this allows us to consider what provisions might help those who are impacted. We undertook 18 semi-structured interviews with patients diagnosed with eye disease leading to vision loss to explore its psychological impact. Participants also completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), providing a snapshot of their depression and anxiety levels at the time of interview. NVivo-12 software (QSR International Ltd, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA) was used to inductively analyze and code data to identify themes related to the psychological impact. Participants had a mean BDI score of 9.6, and thematic analysis generated five key themes and associated subthemes. Coming to terms with the diagnosis included discussion of subthemes of “denial” and moving towards “acceptance”. Effects on mental health included depression/low mood, anxiety, and stress-related worsening of vision. Loss included various losses following initial loss of vision. Effects on identity included facing a curtailed life, worry that visual impairment might define a person’s identity, and feelings of frustration with their own loss of function and with others’ reactions to their disability. The future included thoughts about long-term consequences, both negative and positive (e.g., maximizing experiences given the vision one has left). Although such a diagnosis will nearly always have a psychological impact and require work to move toward acceptance, support could mitigate impact on mental health, such as practical support (e.g. advice on low vision aids), and psychological support



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Publication title

Journal of Mental Health & Clinical Psychology



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  • Accepted version


  • eng

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Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care

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