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Low Vision and Aging

Dr. Perlmutter mentors students interested in Low Vision and Aging. Occupational therapists are likely to encounter individuals with low vision and other chronic conditions in a wide range of clinical settings including acute care, in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities and home health. This scholarly experience gives students opportunities to learn about the impact of visual impairment and typical age-related changes on participation.

The WUOT Low Vision Community Practice program provides one-on-one OT services to adults with vision loss due to age-related, neurological and other conditions. A Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance (PEOP) (Baum & Christiansen, 2005) approach is used to assess the factors impacting the client’s daily activities and participation. Client-centered intervention focuses on helping the person use their remaining vision through proper use of optical devices, adding contrast and lighting to the home environment and a variety adaptive strategies and community resources. Various program evaluation methods are being developed and tested.

General Description of Student Activities

Students will explore the literature related to the impact of low vision on occupational performance and existing models of clinical and self-management programs. Tangible outcomes for students include: gaining experience with delivering a self-management program to adults with vision loss in a community-based setting, participating in collection of program evaluation data, development of a leader training program, development of self-management toolkits and determination of their clinical utility, and hands-on experience with adults with vision loss and other chronic conditions. Students meet with Dr. Perlmutter on a weekly basis and with consultants and community partners as needed.

Examples of Projects

  • Development of a self-management program for older adults with vision loss
  • Development of program evaluation methods for a self-management program for older adults with vision loss and assessment of the impact of the program
  • Development of self-management toolkits for use in WUOT’s Community Practice and beyond
  • Outcome assessment of low vision services in WUOT’s Community Practice
  • Impact of glaucoma on driving across the severity stages of the disease
  • Determination of driving errors and compensatory strategies used by persons with glaucoma

Mentor

Monica Perlmutter, OTD, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Phone: 314-286-1635
perlmutterm@wustl.edu

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