Visual impairment, rehabilitation and International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

Deficiência visual, reabilitação e Classificação Internacional de Funcionalidade, Incapacidade e Saúde

Marissa Romano da Silva Maria Inês Rubo de Souza Nobre Keila Monteiro de Carvalho Rita de Cássia Ietto Montilha About the authors


To describe the characteristics of people with visual impairment who participated in the Visual Rehabilitation Groups, according to the ICD-10 and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).


Quantitative, cross-sectional survey, developed in a university rehabilitation research center between october and december 2012. The users from the Visual Rehabilitation Groups were invited; 13 of them agreed to participate. We performed an occupational therapy evaluation – with anamnesis, performance evaluation and functional vision assessment – an analysis of medical charts and patient description with the use of the ICF


The major causes of visual impairment were diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, optical neuritis and keratoconus. Some functions and structures of the body, performance and capabilities in activities and participation, environmental factors facilitators or limiters were highlighted in this study, allowing the description of the characteristics of each participant through the functionality and the improvement of the therapeutic planning. Assistive technologies, optical and non-optical aids used and their everyday benefits were presented.


Visual loss, at any level, led to functional impairments, limiting and restricting the participation and performance in everyday activities, interfering with the individuals’ independence, autonomy and quality of life. However, the use of optical aids, non-optical aids and environmental adaptations proved to be beneficial for increasing the functionality, showing the influence of external factors on the performance. Knowing and recognizing the existence of diversities within the visual impairment universe allows us to understand who the treated individual is, avoiding the generalization by the visual condition. The ICF showed to have a fundamental role in this context.

International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health; International Classification of Diseases; Rehabilitation; Blindness; Low vision; Activities of daily living

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