Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy
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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department
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Nova Southeastern University
Karen Leigh James. 2016. Effect of Lighting on Performance of Tasks Requiring Near Vision in Older Adults. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department. (51)
With age, more light is needed in order to function, but the effect of lighting on occupational performance has received little attention in occupational therapy. The purpose of the study was to determine if lighting affects older adults’ ability to perform selected occupational tasks, which require near vision and if lighting levels affects their perceived effort while performing selected occupational tasks. A quasi-experimental, repeated measures design was used with a convenience sample recruited from a retirement community. Thirty participants met the inclusion criteria, which included visual and cognitive screening. The mean age of the 30 participants was 83 years, and most (80%) were female. Participants completed three occupational tasks (reading a prescription label, sorting pills, and sorting dark colored socks) under three different lighting levels (low, M = 103; medium, M = 127; and high, M = 397 footcandles [fc]) presented in random order. Participants were placed in three groups based on order of lighting presentation and completed each set of tasks four times: a trial session, followed by three timed sessions. Participants were asked to rate their perceived effort under each lighting level using a self-report scale. Descriptive statistics were used to examine completion times, groups, and lighting levels. In general, participants required longer to complete occupational tasks and reported more effort when utilizing medium light levels (M = 127 fc) provided by ambient lighting and a floor lamp and performed best under high lighting levels (M = 397 fc) provided by ambient lighting as well as a floor lamp and task lamp. The results suggest lighting may have affected performance and perceived effort of older adults while completing the visually challenging tasks.