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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2013, Article ID 278135, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/278135
Review Article

The Psychological Challenge of Late-Life Vision Impairment: Concepts, Findings, and Practical Implications

Department of Psychological Aging Research, Institute of Psychology, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straβe 20, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 26 December 2012; Accepted 15 March 2013

Academic Editor: Andrew G. Lee

Copyright © 2013 Hans-Werner Wahl. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The intention is to summarize the body of evidence speaking to the psychological challenges faced by visually impaired older adults, as well as their coping efforts. This evidence is substantiated by a rich set of concepts, theories, and empirical findings that have accumulated under the umbrella of age-related psychoophthalmology (APO). I introduce the field of APO and continue with a discussion of important concepts and theories for a better understanding of adaptational processes in visually impaired older adults. I then summarize the most relevant and most recent data from four areas: (1) everyday competence, (2) cognitive functioning, (3) social functioning, and (4) subjective well-being-related outcomes, depression, and adaptational processes. Thereafter, major insights related to the current state-of-the art psychosocial interventions with visuallyimpaired older adults are reviewed. I close with the need that the public health community should become more aware of and address the psychosocial needs of visually impaired older adults.