Richard Daniëls MD, Jan Hoving PhD, Birgit Donker-Cools MD PhD, Hilde van de Aa PhD, Frederieke Schaafsma MD PhD, Ruth van Nispen MA MSc PhD.
Background of research
Occupational health and insurance physicians experience difficulty in understanding the impact of specific eye diseases and how loss in visual functions translate to work-limitations. More knowledge and tools to independently assess the work capacity and work opportunities for visually impaired people are needed. An independent assessment by a physician is important, as the employee’s rights to social benefits are dependent on this assessment and both employees and employers may have a conflict of interest. Knowing the impact of vision loss on work participation of the target group as a whole, and, the individual with a visual impairment, understanding which visual demands relate to specific job types and knowing which environmental circumstances contribute to work participation in visually impaired persons, should strengthen the role of these professionals as independent assessors and advisors of patients considerably.
Aim of research
In this thesis we aim to:
- Identify and map the full extent of relevant (domains of) work-related activities, from the perspective of occupational health and low vision professionals and working-age adults with a visual impairment;
- Develop a validated and reliable vision-related work-assessment tool for professionals which should measure work capacity of persons with a visual impairment (e.g. low vision, eye care, occupational health care);
- Better understand how various visual functions relate to work capacity, and the role of (problems with) energy balance in this association.
The outcomes of this project will ultimately:
- Enhance the evaluation and advise on work activities and circumstances for visually impaired persons in order to gain or maintain suitable and sustainable work;
- Identify persons who are at risk for work disability and unwanted work loss at an early stage; earlier detection of work needs, can result in earlier intervention, such as vocational rehabilitation, and improved work-participation;
- Enhance the collaboration between occupational health professionals in different fields, together with other stakeholders, such as patients themselves. Improving the network of stakeholders regarding work, sharing knowledge and using the same ‘language’, increases the success of collaboration and may therefore result in better delivered services, and ultimately improved work participation of visually impaired persons;
- Provide ideas for tailored interventions for people with visual impairment, especially those identified as potentially vulnerable subgroups (e.g. patients with more severe impairment or multi-morbidity). Recognizing diversity among persons with disabilities, is emphasized in the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 (2). Diversity of people, even in the same group of disabilities (i.e. visual disabilities), increases the complexity, but is at the same time important to be aware of in order to promote employment opportunities;
- Improve quality of the professional work-disability evaluations and their outcomes for visually impaired persons.
More information Richard Daniëls: firstname.lastname@example.org