Stereotyping as a barrier to the social participation of older adults with low vision: a qualitative focus group study

  • Sarah Fraser, Irene Beeman, Kenneth Southall, Walter Wittich
  • BMJ Open, September 2019, BMJ
  • DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029940

Why do persons with a visual impairment feel socially excluded?

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

What is it about?

Social participation is key to optimal health across the lifespan. Stereotypes about low vision and blindness can have an impact on the social participation of older adults with low vision and ultimately negatively affect their health. In discussions with older adults with low vision, we find that there are personal factors and societal level factors that influence their social participation. We provide some tips on how we can reduce negative stereotypes about older adults with low vision, improve their social participation and ultimately their health.

Why is it important?

Vision rehabilitation aims to improve the quality of life of persons with a visual impairment; however, some aspect of their lives, such as the perceptions and preconceived ideas of the sighted community can not be changed that easily. Our article aims to put some focus on this topic in order to raise awareness about persons with low vision and the struggles they experience when interacting with the sighted community.


Dr Walter Wittich
Universite de Montreal

This was my first experience conducting a secondary analysis of already existing data from a previous study. It was a highly educational and interesting process and opened my eyes to the possibilities and depth of qualitative analysis.

Read Publication

The following have contributed to this page: Sarah Fraser and Dr Walter Wittich