The goal of the current study was to examine the critical factors indicative of an individual's choice to access low vision rehabilitation services.Methods:
Seven hundred and forty-nine visually impaired individuals, from the Montreal Barriers Study, completed a structured interview and questionnaires (on visual function, coping, depression, satisfaction with life). Seventy-five factors from the interview and questionnaires were entered into a data-driven Classification and Regression Tree Analysis in order to determine the best predictors of awareness group: positive personal choice (I knew and I went), negative personal choice (I knew and did not go), and lack of information (Nobody told me, and I did not know).Results:
Having a response of moderate to no difficulty on item 6 (reading signs) of the Visual Function Index 14 (VF-14) indicated that the person had made a positive personal choice to seek rehabilitation, whereas reporting a great deal of difficulty on this item was associated with a lack of information on low vision rehabilitation. In addition to this factor, symptom duration of under nine years, moderate difficulty or less on item 5 (seeing steps or curbs) of the VF-14, and an indication of little difficulty or less on item 3 (reading large print) of the VF-14 further identified those who were more likely to have made a positive personal choice. Individuals in the lack of information group also reported greater difficulty on items 3 and 5 of the VF-14 and were more likely to be male.Conclusions:
The duration-of-symptoms factor suggests that, even in the positive choice group, it may be best to offer rehabilitation services early. Being male and responding moderate difficulty or greater to the VF-14 questions about far, medium-distance and near situations involving vision was associated with individuals that lack information. Consequently, these individuals may need additional education about the benefits of low vision services in order to make a positive personal choice.