Research Article  |   April 2016
Health Literacy in Older Adults With and Without Low Vision
Author Affiliations
  • Mary Warren, PhD, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA, is Associate Professor and Program Director, Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham; warrenm@uab.edu
  • Dawn K. DeCarlo, OD, MS, MSPH, is Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Laura E. Dreer, PhD, is Associate Professor and Director of Psychological and Neuropsychological Clinical Research Services, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health and Wellness / Vision / Productive Aging
Research Article   |   April 2016
Health Literacy in Older Adults With and Without Low Vision
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2016, Vol. 70, 7003270010p1-7003270010p7. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017400
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2016, Vol. 70, 7003270010p1-7003270010p7. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017400
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. In this study, we investigated whether older adults with low vision (LV) from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) demonstrated lower functional health literacy than older adults without LV.

METHOD. Fifty adults with AMD were matched with adults without LV on age, gender, education, and income. We measured visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and reading speed and administered the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) using two test time conditions, standard and unlimited, to measure health literacy levels.

RESULTS. The group with LV had considerably lower TOFHLA scores for both time conditions (p < .001) and took notably longer to complete the test (p < .001). Poorer acuity correlated with lower TOFHLA scores in the group with LV.

CONCLUSION. Older adults with LV may take longer to read and understand health information, which has important implications for providing health education to support self-management. Modifying components of the reading task may facilitate reading performance and understanding of health education materials.