A qualitative exploration of the effect of visual field loss on daily life in home-dwelling stroke survivors

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Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Early online date2 Apr 2019
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2019

Abstract

Objective: To explore the effect of visual field loss on the daily life of community-dwelling stroke survivors.

Design: Qualitative interview study.

Participants: Adult stroke survivors with visual field loss of at least six months duration.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a non-purposive sample of 12 stroke survivors in their own homes. These were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed with the framework method, using an inductive approach.

Results: Two key analytical themes emerged. ‘Perception, experience and knowledge’ describes participant’s conflicted experience of having knowledge of their impaired vision but lacking perception of that visual field loss and operating under the assumption that they were viewing an intact visual scene when engaged in activities. Inability to recognise and deal with visual difficulties, and experiencing the consequences, contributed to their fear and loss of self-confidence. ‘Avoidance and adaptation’ were two typologies of participant
response to visual field loss. Initially all participants consciously avoided activities. Some later adapted to vision loss using self-directed head and eye scanning techniques.

Conclusions: Visual field loss has a marked impact on stroke survivors. Stroke survivors lack perception of their visual loss in everyday life, resulting in fear and loss of confidence. Activity avoidance is a common response, but in some it is replaced by self-initiated adaptive techniques.

Keywords

  • stroke, visual field loss, qualitative, effect