PURPOSE. When prescribing low vision devices and training for age related macular degeneration patients, clinicians may make assumptions about the types of low vision devices, the adequacy of rehabilitative training, and the success of rehabilitative intervention. This poster presents the descriptive data of 90 ARMD patients included in a prospective reading training study: rehabilitation history, device selection and usage, and results of training. METHOD. All the patients were volunteers, literate, and had reading as a rehabilitation goal. All patients underwent a complete low vision evaluation, and trained for various durations with both an optical reading device and a CCTV. Data on acuity, eccentric viewing, device usage, reading speed and reading duration were collected both pre and post training.
RESULTS. 48% of the patients had had no prior low vision rehabilitation, 33% had had a device demonstrated to them, and 17% had had prior low vision training. The most common low vision device being used at the time of assessment was a hand held magnifier (38%), after training, a stand magnifier was the most commonly chosen optical reading device (69%). All the patients chose to be issued a CCTV; there was no statistical difference in choice of positive or negative polarity. The patients that received at least 5 sessions of training with an optical device and at least 7 days of training with a CCTV, performed significantly better than those patients who only received demonstrations. 61% of the patients had absolute central scotomas and were able to learn to eccentrically view; these patients performed significantly better in reading than those patients with absolute central scotomas who did not eccentrically view (9%.) The other 30% of the patients were classified as having relative central scotomas and these patients read significantly better than those with absolute scotomas.
CONCLUSIONS. Many ARMD patients are not receiving any low vision care; and those that do, often receive very little in the way of device training. Patients clearly benefit from repeated sessions of training. Generalizations such as "ARMD patients prefer negative CCTV polarity" have not been shown to be true.