Eyes on the prize: Life goals in the context of visual disability in midlife

Luba Popivker, Shu Wen Wang, Kathrin Boerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate implications of vision loss in midlife, identify life goals that are important to middle-aged adults and assess how vision loss interferes with goal pursuit. Design: Cross-sectional exploratory study. Setting: Vision rehabilitation agency. Subjects: Two hundred and sixteen middle-aged adults with visual impairment. Methods: Telephone interviews composed of structured and open-ended assessments of life goals (i.e. priorities, plans, or hopes people have in their lives) and goal interference due to vision loss. Results: Across the three assessed domains, functional goals were reported most often (N = 214), followed by social goals (N = 72) and psychological goals (N = 28). Among functional goals, career, daily tasks and mobility goals were identified by the highest percentage of participants. Family goals were identified most frequently for social goals, and life quality was identified most often for psychological goals. Vision-related goals occurred throughout the three domains, representing the majority of functional goals, a third of social goals, and almost half of psychological goals. Participants reported highest interference in functional and social goals and least in psychological goals. While participants reported moderate interference for most goals, markedly high interference was reported for daily tasks, mobility, independence and leisure goals. Goal identification was related to timing of onset of vision loss primarily for functional goals. Conclusions: Findings illuminate multifaceted goals held by middle-aged adults with vision impairment and how visual disability can interfere with goal pursuits. These findings suggest that identifying clients' life goals and the vision-related interference they experience in goal pursuits may be a helpful step in vision rehabilitation services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1135
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


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