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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 158-164

Change-readiness of the blind: A hospital based study in a coastal town of South India

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Uma D Kulkarni
Lakshmi Keshava, 4th Cross, Shivabagh, Mangalore - 575 002, Karnataka
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Source of Support: ICMR STS program 2011 in the form of stipend to the student for conducting the research, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.129768

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Purpose: Blindness is a devastating condition with psychosocial and economic effects. The shortcomings result in a burden to the blind person, the family and society. Rehabilitation of the blind can transform their lives. The aim of this study was to assess the "change-readiness" of the blind to undergo a "change-management." Materials and Methods: The study was a semi-structured pre-tested questionnaire-based study of 50 blind subjects in a medical college hospital. The blind participants were assessed for depression using the Beck Depression Inventory II, for the perceived effect of blindness on family, social life and occupation. The participants were counseled to undergo psychiatric management, vocational training, use blind aids and learn Braille. The willingness of the participants with reasons was assessed using a verbal analogue scale. Pearson Chi-square test, ANOVA and the t-test were used for statistical analysis. Results: Over two-thirds of the subjects were depressed. Family life, social life and occupation were perceived to be affected by 44%, 66% and 74%, respectively. Change-readiness scores were low for low vision and blind aids, vocational training, psychiatric management, change of job and learning Braille. The low score was due to the associated taboo, dependence, lack of skills, embarrassment, etc., The most valuable feature was the family cohesiveness. Conclusion: The results suggest that there is a need to modify health policy to include blind rehabilitation, to improve visibility of blind rehabilitation centers, to include family members and co-professionals while managing the blind so that we treat the "blind person" and not a "pair of blind eyes."

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