Factors affecting rehabilitation seeking behaviour of individuals with legal blindness in Lagos, Nigeria
Blindness and low vision have profound negative impact on the quality of life of persons affected and it reduces ability to live independently. There are apparent inadequacies in vision rehabilitation services (VRS) in terms of access to and uptake of VRS. This study investigated factors affecting VRS seeking behaviour of 120 legally blind participants in Lagos, Nigeria. Participants had Visual Acuity (VA) worse than 6/60 (+1.0LogMAR) and were aged between 20 and 80 years. Eighteen (18, 15%) of the participants reported having undertaken VRS while 102 participants (85%) reported that they never had any form of VRS. Data concerning reasons for non-uptake of VRS were obtained from the 102 participants (85%) who reported that they had never taken any VRS after diagnosis of visual impairment. Findings show that a majority of the participants who had never had VRS had no knowledge of VRS (86, 84.31%) and many of them reported that they were never referred for VRS (82, 80.39%). Logistic regression analysis of reasons for non-uptake of VRS showed that males were significantly less likely to report that they had no knowledge of VRS (OR:0.53; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 0.31-0.91; p<0.05). Participants aged 61 years and over (OR: 1.48; 95% CI, 0.72-3.09; p<0.05) as well as those blind for more than eleven years (OR: 1.16; 95% CI, 0.56-2.34; p<0.05) were more likely to report that VRS was not needed. Participants aged 61 and over were also more likely to state that they were never referred for VRS (OR: 2.88; 95% CI, 1.62-5.20; p<0.05). The study concludes that there is a need to increase awareness and knowledge of VRS among low vision patients as well as provide accessible infrastructure and manpower for VRS. A case is also made for prompt referral of legally blind patients for VRS.
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