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01-03-2013 | Uitgave 2/2013

Quality of Life Research 2/2013

A qualitative investigation of visual tasks with which to assess distance-specific visual function

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 2/2013
Mark J. Atkinson, Steven Tally, Chris W. Heichel, Igor Kozak, Jennifer Leich, Ashley Levack
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-012-0154-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The ability to perform many daily tasks relies on good visual acuity at various distances. A review of existing measures of visual function revealed gaps in task content, particularly tasks that rely on intermediate vision.


This research sought to extend the content base and visual range coverage of tasks used to assess visual function.


Ophthalmology patients (n = 72) with myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, cataracts, and/or glaucoma were involved in various qualitative sub-studies, including life event journaling, telephone interviews, and both on-line and face-to-face focus groups. The resulting journal entries and transcripts were thematically analyzed to identify visual tasks that rely on visual acuity in the near, intermediate, and distant visual ranges.


A wide variety of distance-specific visual tasks were identified. Certain types of tasks relied on distance vision, such as; ambulation, driving, leisure and sports, and social functions. Other task groupings such as technology use and activities of daily living relied primarily on near and intermediate vision. Two new content areas were identified, technology use and safe task performance.


This thematic analysis provides a rich body of information about tasks that affect daily life and are made more difficult by poor visual acuity at various distance ranges.

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