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Clin Exp Optom. 2007 Mar;90(2):115-23.

Vision and self-reported mobility performance in patients with low vision.

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Department of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.



As vision plays a significant role in mobility performance, it is usual to refer low vision patients, particularly those who complain of mobility difficulties, for orientation and mobility (O&M) training to help them maintain safe independent travel. Our study aimed to determine whether there was a relationship between measures of vision and self-reported mobility, and the applicability of a patient-based mobility assessment in patients with heterogeneous causes of visual loss.


We assessed the high and low contrast visual acuity, visual field and scanning ability of 30 patients with low vision. A validated mobility questionnaire was used to assess the participants' perceived visual ability for independent mobility.


Vision was significantly correlated with self-reported mobility performance, however, visual field was a significant predictor accounting for 56.5 per cent of the variance. The instrument was well constructed with valid content and high reliability scores.


Self-reported mobility performance together with measures of vision could be used as a guide to refer patients for O&M training. The patient-based assessment instrument was valid to measure perceived visual ability for independent mobility in patients with heterogeneous causes of visual loss.

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