Perspectives of people with late age-related macular degeneration on mental health and mental wellbeing programmes: a qualitative study

Lisa Dillon*, Sarthak Gandhi, Diana Tang, Gerald Liew, Maree Hackett, Ashley Craig, Paul Mitchell, Lisa Keay, Bamini Gopinath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: People with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) experience high rates of depression, but rarely engage in or have access to tailored mental wellbeing programmes. This qualitative study investigated the perspectives of those primarily with late AMD on mental health and mental wellbeing programmes. Methods: Twenty-eight people with late AMD in at least one eye, and one person with early AMD in both eyes, aged 56–87 years (mean age 78 years) attending a private eye clinic between December 2019 and January 2020 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, participated. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed deductively using content analysis, following the individual level factors for health promotion interventions in the behaviour change wheel: Capability (Physical & Psychological), Opportunity (Physical & Social), and Motivation (Reflective & Automatic). Results: Six major themes were identified: Capability: (1) Impact of vision loss on mobility and leisure pursuits; (2) Adjustment to living with vision loss; Opportunity: (3) Program considerations for those with AMD; (4) Stigma and self-perception of vision loss and mental health; Motivation: (5) Accumulation of vision-related issues as a barrier to participation; (6) Examples of others living with vision loss. General personal factors relevant to delivery of a programme in this age group were also identified: Comorbidities; Limitations using technology; Isolation; Financial concerns and Beliefs that undesired effects of aging are inevitable. Conclusions: Complex individual, environmental and social factors influence the perspectives of people with late AMD on mental health, and potential participation in mental wellbeing programmes. These factors should be considered when developing and implementing mental wellbeing programmes to improve the emotional and functional rehabilitation outcomes for people with AMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • mental health
  • macular degeneration
  • qualitative study
  • wellbeing programmes
  • depression

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