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13.04.2016 | Ausgabe 10/2016 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 10/2016

Comprehending the impact of low vision on the lives of children and adolescents: a qualitative approach

Quality of Life Research > Ausgabe 10/2016
Linda Rainey, Ellen Bernadette Maria Elsman, Ruth Marie Antoinette van Nispen, Lisette Michelle van Leeuwen, Gerardus Hermanus Maria Bartholomeus van Rens
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-016-1292-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To develop a comprehensive, conceptual model detailing the aspects of a child’s life (<18 years) that are affected by low vision.


Three stakeholders were involved in the developmental process of the conceptual model: children and adolescents with a visual impairment (n = 40), parents of children with a visual impairment (n = 25) and professionals of multidisciplinary rehabilitation centres and specialised schools (n = 25). Qualitative methods including focus groups, online and face-to-face brainstorming sessions and concept mapping were used to investigate the impact of visual impairment on the lives of children and adolescents and to create the conceptual model. To aid interpretation of the large age range, four age-bands were formed.


For each age-band (0–2, 3–6, 7–12 and 13–17 years), a total of 153, 200, 297 and 306 statements were generated by all stakeholders, respectively. The conceptual models show that low vision affects the sensorial development as well as the physical, psychological and social well-being of children and adolescents. In addition, identified external factors (i.e. education/employment and parental influence) can either facilitate or hinder participation.


The developed model shows which life aspects of children are affected by low vision. The needs identified by children and adolescents correspond not entirely to the perspective of parents and low vision professionals. Future research should focus on developing and validating a new questionnaire based on the conceptual model. This will aid goal setting, rehabilitation referral and the accomplishment of developmental milestones and life transitions of children and adolescents with a visual impairment, ultimately improving their participation and quality of life.

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