Mary Warren, Dawn K. DeCarlo, Laura E. Dreer; Health Literacy in Older Adults With and Without Low Vision. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(3):7003270010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017400
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
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.
Combine low literacy and LV guidelines to create optimally accessible formats for printed health materials;
Encourage the client to take rest breaks and as much time as needed to read and understand printed health materials;
Create an environment conducive to reading and understanding health information (e.g., remove auditory distractions, provide additional nonglare task lighting, and encourage the client to use magnifying devices);
Consider providing recorded instructions to replace or augment print materials; and
If a client struggles with reading using these modifications, seek the expertise of a specialist in LV rehabilitation.
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