Purpose: Patients’ perceptions about the functional impact of amblyopia and strabismus in daily life have not been explored extensively. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the lived experiences of adults with these conditions and understand the functional limitations they face in their day-to-day life. Methods: A qualitative study design was adopted. Participants over 18 years of age, with a primary diagnosis of amblyopia (with or without strabismus) were recruited from the community and various eye care practices in South Australia and Victoria, Australia. Participants took part in either focus group discussions or individual interviews and described the functional limitations they experienced in their daily life due to their eye condition. These sessions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded inductively, and analysed iteratively to form emergent themes. Results: Thirty-seven adult participants took part in the study: 23 (62%) had strabismic amblyopia; 5 (14%) anisometropic amblyopia;, 7 (19%) combined-mechanism amblyopia; and 2 (5%) deprivational amblyopia. Their median age was 54 years (range: 21–82 years) and 19 (51%) were female. Participants reported several challenges in performing everyday tasks such as driving (e.g. judging distances, changing lanes), reading (e.g. fine print, reading for prolonged time) and sports (e.g. catching a ball). They also articulated trouble in navigating safely (e.g. using stairs, bumping into objects), performing work-tasks (e.g. taking longer than peers to complete tasks) and other routine tasks (e.g. chopping vegetables with care). Conclusions: Several functional limitations were encountered by adults living with amblyopia and strabismus. Participants recognised these limitations in their normal day-to-day life and related the challenges they faced to symptoms associated with their eye condition. By presenting rich in-depth qualitative data, the paper demonstrates qualitative evidence of the functional impacts associated with amblyopia and strabismus.
- functional limitations
- qualitative study