Perceived visual ability for independent mobility in persons with retinitis pigmentosa

Kathleen A. Turano, Duane R. Geruschat, Julie W. Stahl, Robert W. Massof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To determine the distribution of perceived ability for independent mobility in people who are at various stages of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). METHODS. A questionnaire was developed to ask subjects to rate how difficult they found each of 35 mobility situations if they had no assistance. The scale was 1 (no difficulty) to 5 (extreme difficulty). In each of 127 subjects, the Rasch analysis, a latent trait analysis, was used to convert the ordinal difficulty ratings into interval measures of perceived visual ability for independent mobility. RESULTS. Content validity of the questionnaire was shown by good separation indexes (4.55 and 8.0) and high reliability scores (0.96 and 0.98) for the person and the item parameters. Construct validity was shown with model fit statistics. Criterion validity of the questionnaire was shown by good discrimination among mobility-related behavior such as 'limit independent travel,' 'always ask for accompaniment,' 'use a mobility aid,' and 'have a fear of falling.' The mobility situation shown to require the least visual ability was 'moving about in the home'; the situation requiring the most was 'walking at night.' Bivariate regression analysis determined that for every decade of disease progression, perceived visual ability for mobility decreased by approximately 0.5 logit, which was slightly less than 10% of the total range in the study sample. A linear combination of the visual function measures, log minimum angle of resolution, log contrast sensitivity, and log retinal area accounted for 57% of the variability in the person measure. CONCLUSIONS. The patient-based assessment, developed to determine difficulty across a range of mobility situations, is a valid way to measure perceived ability for independent mobility. This latent trait varies systematically with the progression of RP and with visual function measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-877
Number of pages13
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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