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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 1548-1554

Awareness, utilization and barriers in accessing assistive technology among young patients attending a low vision rehabilitation clinic of a tertiary eye care centre in Delhi

1 Department of Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Clinical Research, International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj Singh Senjam
Room No. 791, 7th Floor Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_197_19

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Purpose: People with visual disability need assistive technology to improve their body functioning and performance. The purpose of the present study was to understand the awareness, use and barriers in accessing the assistive technology among young patients attending visual rehabilitation clinic of a tertiary eye care hospital in Delhi. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on consecutively recruited patients registered for the first time in visual rehabilitation clinic of the community ophthalmology department of the tertiary eye centre during June and July 2018. A study tool consisting of 42 assistive technologies was developed. Patients were screened for distance visual acuity both presenting and binocular pinhole vision using an 'E' chart with two optotype (6/18, 6/60). Results: 85 patients (69.4% male) were enrolled from the VR clinic. 83.5% of the patients had a best corrected binocular vision acuity <6/18 to 1/60. There was good awareness of only 2 of the 42 devices (>67% of the participants): near optical magnifiers, walking long canes. There was moderate awareness of 10 devices (34-66% of the participants) and poor awareness of the rest (<33%). Likewise, participants reported moderate usage of 3 out of the 42 devices and poor usage of the remaining devices. Non-availability of devices was the most frequently reported barrier in the study. Conclusion: The awareness and utilization of assistive technologies for visual disability was poor in patients attending visual rehabilitation clinic. Hospitals could procure assistive technologies and introduce strategies to improve awareness as well as promote utilization.

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