A holistic understanding of challenges faced by people with low vision

Karst M.P. Hoogsteen, Sarit Szpiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research on visual impairments has documented specific challenges that people with low vision face such as reading and mobility. Yet, much less focus has been given to the relationships between seemingly separate challenges such as mobility and social interactions; limiting the potential of services and assistive technologies for people with low vision. To address this gap, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 low vision participants and examined the relationships between challenges and coping strategies overarching three facets of life – functional, psychological, and social. We found that challenges in a specific area of life commonly interacted and impacted other facets of life and provide a conceptual map of these relationship. For example, challenges in mobility reduced social interactions, which in turn affected the psychological well-being. Moreover, participants repeatedly described how a seemingly specific functional challenge (i.e., seeing under different lighting conditions) influenced a wide range of activities, from mobility (e.g., seeing obstacles) to social interactions (e.g., seeing faces and interpreting non-verbal cues). Our results highlight the importance of considering the interrelationships between different facets of life for assistive technology development and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104517
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Assistive technology
  • Disability
  • Qualitative study
  • Visual impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A holistic understanding of challenges faced by people with low vision'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this