Socio-emotional effects of the transition from sight to blindness
The research examined the socio-emotional impact of sight loss on a sample of 18 blind and partially sighted adults from the east coast of Scotland (average age 64). The impact of sight loss in four core areas (mood, self-concept, social connectedness and loss) was explored. Data were collected using the mental health and social functioning subscales of the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire-25 and semi-structured interviews. Data indicated that participants experienced reduced mental health and decreased social functioning as a result of sight loss. Data also showed that participants shared common socio-emotional issues during transition from sight to blindness, relating to diagnosis, coping with deterioration of sight, experiencing loss, experiencing changed perceptions of self in relation to society, experiencing others in a changed way and experiencing rehabilitation. A theoretical model describing the socio-emotional transition from sight to blindness is proposed. Implications for practice are explored.