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Use and acceptance of modern technologies by older people with age-related macular degeneration

Session Details

Session Title: AMD III

Session Date/Time: Sunday 20/09/2015 | 11:00-13:00

Paper Time: 11:08

Venue: Athena

First Author: : S.Shakir UNITED KINGDOM

Co Author(s): :    S. Robinson   T. Aslam           

Abstract Details

PURPOSE:Computer software and hardware is being increasingly developed for patients to use in their own homes. In particular many varied applications are becoming available for older patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to help educate, diagnose and advise, using the internet, computer screens and mobile devices. However, the receptiveness of older ophthalmic patients to such technologies has not previously been comprehensively assessed. We aimed to identify the types of technological devices used, frequency of use and reason for use. We also investigated the perceived ease of use of various technological applications and the effect of vision on using technology.

Setting:

Patients over the age of 50 years with AMD were recruited from a clinic at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, UK. Those partaking in the study were consented and allocated a participant number. All questionnaire responses were anonymised.

Methods:

A 56-point survey was constructed in order to assess age, gender, ocular condition and use of technology. Ethical approval for this research study was granted and participant recruitment involved distribution of the questionnaire to patients in weekly AMD clinic at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, UK. The study was carried out over a 4-month period.

Results:

A total of 81 ophthalmic patients were recruited to the study. The majority of patients were aged 66-79 years (n=37), with 35 patients over 80-years-old and only 9 patients aged 50-65. The majority of patients (79%) concluded that technology does help with everyday tasks and they use technology on a daily basis or frequently during the week to gather information (41%), communicate with friends (72%) and listen or watch television or radio (78%). 31% responded that they use technology to research own health. The most common devices patients used regularly included desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, with a small number owning eBook readers, iPods and other devices. Applications most used included email and internet browsing. Over a third of all the responses (38%) reported that there was little or no difficulty in using technology and only 33% had stopped using technology due to poor eyesight. Where they existed, obstacles in the effective use of technology included poor information technology skills and devices being complicated. Patients within the age range of 50-79-years-old particularly reported they could use technology without difficulty to assist in work and social communication.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that most patients with AMD are currently using technological devices for multiple purposes in daily activities, although this use tends to decrease in patients over the age of 80 years. The study has confirmed the validity of exploiting technology fully for eye-health promotion and in the management of older people with macular degeneration. This information should be invaluable to developers to optimise patient uptake and to prescribers to consider the utility of such devices and applications for their patients.

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