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Distance Telescopes: A Survey of User Success

Lowe, John B. PhD; Rubinstein, Martin P. PhD, FAAO

Optometry and Vision Science: May 2000 - Volume 77 - Issue 5 - p 260-269

The distance telescope has a historical reputation for causing difficulties in prescribing and adaptation. Hence, we considered that a retrospective survey of patients at Nottingham Low Vision Clinic might elucidate specific attributes that influence an individual patient’s success in using a distance telescope. From 142 patients prescribed distance telescopes since the Clinic’s inception, 133 apparently remained users and were mailed a preliminary three-question enquiry about usage of their distance telescopes. The 87 respondents were followed up with questionnaire 2, requesting explicit information about usage, namely frequency, degree of ease or difficulty, and purpose. Older patients required higher magnification (p < 0.025). Seventeen of 74 respondents to questionnaire 2 had various adaptational problems, which are discussed; 57 of 74 patients found their distance telescopes easy to use, and 49 of 57 were frequent users. Thus, ease and frequency are linked (p < 0.05). People tended to use their distance telescopes outdoors and indoors with similar frequency (p ≥ 0.29). Adaptation was found to be unrelated to visual acuity, binocularity/monocularity, ocular pathology, or restricted mobility; magnification seemed to be influential, although not significantly. Aging did not significantly impede adaptation. We infer that the universal criterion for selecting treatable patients seems to be personality type. We conclude that adaptation to a device is dependent upon active recognition of its benefits, paralleled with a tolerance of its constraints, which combine to make usage easy and regular on at least one common task.

Directorate of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Received October 8, 1997; revision received January 20, 2000.

J. B. Lowe

Directorate of Ophthalmology

University Hospital

Nottingham NG7 2UH

United Kingdom

© 2000 American Academy of Optometry