How effective is low vision service provision? A systematic review

Alison M. Binns, Catey Bunce, Chris Dickinson, Robert Harper, Rhiannon Tudor-Edwards, Margaret Woodhouse, Pat Linck, Alan Suttie, Jonathan Jackson, Jennifer Lindsay, James Wolffsohn, Lindsey Hughes, Tom H. Margrain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Visual impairment is a large and growing socioeconomic problem. Good evidence on rehabilitation outcomes is required to guide service development and improve the lives of people with sight loss. Of the 478 potentially relevant articles identified, only 58 studies met our liberal inclusion criteria, and of these only 7 were randomized controlled trials. Although the literature is sufficient to confirm that rehabilitation services result in improved clinical and functional ability outcomes, the effects on mood, vision-related quality of life (QoL) and health-related QoL are less clear. There are some good data on the performance of particular types of intervention, but almost no useful data about outcomes in children, those of working age, and other groups. There were no reports on cost effectiveness. Overall, the number of well-designed and adequately reported studies is pitifully small; visual rehabilitation research needs higher quality research. We highlight study design and reporting considerations and suggest a future research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-65
Number of pages32
JournalSurvey of ophthalmology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2012


  • activities of daily living
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • disability evaluation
  • health services
  • health status indicators
  • humans
  • quality of life
  • treatment outcome
  • low vision
  • visually impaired persons


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