Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Doris N. Ugarriza

Second Committee Member

Victoria Mitrani

Third Committee Member

Karina Gattamorta

Fourth Committee Member

Linda Liska Belgrave


The purpose was to explore the experiences of older adults with vision impairment from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in managing participation in daily living activities with the use of assistive low vision optical devices (LVODs) and arrive at a substantive theory that captured the essence of these phenomena. The sample consisted of 18 older adults, ages 75 to 96 years, 6 males and 12 females diagnosed with dry AMD and visual acuity between 20/50-20/200 in the better seeing-eye, English speaking, and acquired their LVODs not less than 6 months prior to the start of the study. Grounded Theory methodology was used to collect and analyze data from the research question “What are the experiences of older adults with AMD in losing vision and using LVODs?” Findings revealed the Theory of Doing the Best You Can, a process that includes categories of discovering optical devices, losing sight, living with AMD, and using LVODs. New findings on signs of AMD and depth and space perception were revealed that have not been cited in the literature. More than 50% of the participants had incidence of falls. Three user types were identified: Users, Semi-users, and Abandoners. None of the participants were referred for low vision assessment or training and none of the LVODs were prescribed. Reading disability, facial recognition disability, giving up driving, and dependence on others were found to severely impact daily lives. Barriers to LVOD use included factors that involve physicians, the individual with low vision, the device, and service delivery.


age-related macular degeneration, optical device use, low vision, vision impairment, participation, older adults, daily living activities, barriers to optical device use, Grounded Theory, theory of Doing the Best You Can