People with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can report reduced mental health. There is also evidence that they struggle with daily tasks because of vision loss. Aims The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological impact of instrumental activities of daily living on people with simulated AMD.
Twenty-four normally sighted participants completed 12 household tasks, in a simulated home environment, under a moderate-to-severe AMD simulation. Participants' psychological state was measured through self-report questionnaires and physiological measurements related to anxiety and stress. Tasks were completed twice, under counterbalanced vision conditions (normal and simulated AMD).
Linear mixed models on vision condition (normal versus simulated AMD) and trial order (trial 1 versus trial 2) revealed a significant large negative effect of the AMD simulation on time to complete tasks, and the anxiety, task engagement and distress self-reports (all P < 0.024, all ω2 > 0.177). There were also significant medium-large effects of trial order on time, task incompletion, task errors, and the anxiety and task engagement self-reports (all P < 0.047, all ω2 > 0.130), whereby the results improved during the second attempt at the tasks. No physiological measures were significant (all P > 0.05).
Completing instrumental activities of daily living under an AMD simulation had a negative impact on participants' self-reported mental state. The observed trial order effects also illuminated how practice with tasks could ease anxiety and stress over time.