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The meaning of meeting others with visual impairment. A lifeworld phenomenological study among people with visual impairment

Authors Lea Johanne Sarfelt
Inger Berndtsson
Published in Poster presented at ESLLR 2019, European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation, 10–12 September, Manchester UK
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Language en
Keywords visual impairment, vision rehabilitation, group rehabilitation, peer support, phenomenological life-world interview
Subject categories Pedagogy


In Denmark, professionals working within vision rehabilitation ensure that persons with visual impairment (VI) meet others with similar impairment, even though it is not always a conscious part of the rehabilitation. Studies agree that group rehabilitation is important for a person’s ability to perform daily life activities due to shared experience with people in similar life circumstances. The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of meeting others with VI and blindness. The theoretical framework for the study was lifeworld phenomenology with focus on the dimensions: lived body, lived space, lived time, horizons and intersubjectivity. Eight people aged 54–90 participated in qualitative lifeworld interviews using a semi-structured interview guide. The empirical material was transcribed and interpreted based on a phenomenological approach, focusing on the participants' lifeworld and lived experience. Four themes were identified in the analysis as important for the participants: 1) Belonging to a community of others with visual impairment and recognizability; 2) Own understanding of situation, more self-confidence and joy of life; 3) Sharing experiences and opportunities with assistive technology and activities, and 4) Relationships with other persons. Through meeting others with a similar lifeworld and body, the participants recognized that they were able to do more than expected, and experienced opportunities to recapture activities. The participants and others in the group benefit from each other only when they have the same experiences. Meeting others with VI, who are or have been in the same situation as themselves, is important for the participants in terms of living with VI, and this relates both to practical as well as emotional aspects. This study supports the idea that group rehabilitation or peer support should be a more integrated part of vision rehabilitation in Denmark.

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