Scoping Review: Mobility aids for people with sight loss across the ICF domains of functions, activities and participation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Significance. There is little literature linking mobility aids for people with sight loss to the functions, activities, and participation domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Future studies on this relationship should be funded and pursued to better understand ways to maximize the benefit of mobility aids.
Purpose. The ICF domains of functions, activities, and participation are potentially health-supporting aspects of daily living that may be impeded for people with sight loss. While mobility aids facilitate safely navigating obstacles to optimize independence, it is not clear if they have any effect on functions, activities, or participation. This review explores the literature to establish the associations between mobility aids and ICF domains.
Methods. An established scoping review methodological framework was used to systematically search, select, and synthesize the existing literature.
Results. Of 116 unique retrieved articles, three observational studies were eligible for inclusion with a total of 124 participants. A small experimental study found blind adults had slower Timed Up and Go times than sighted, and better performance with a long cane than without. One observational study found physical activity was strongly related to level of visual acuity but with no independent impact of mobility aids. A single mixed methods study explored travel frequency for blind people with assistance dogs and considered constraints to participation.
Conclusions. Despite the included studies involving some aspect of mobility aid use by people with sight loss, to-date no study has focused exclusively on mobility aid intervention for people with sight loss within the physical function, physical activity and participation domains of the ICF. There is no reliable evidence on the associations between mobility aids and physical function, physical activity, and participation. This is an important knowledge gap for determining the most suitable aids, and their use, to best facilitate health-supporting activities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Apr 2024

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