Loneliness in Low Vision Research

By Terri Maus • Jul 29, 2022
Dr. Don Fletcher is sitting at a car while his grand-dog climbs on a couch behind him

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The International Conference on Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation was this month in Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Don Fletcher, MD, Medical Director for Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center and Dr. Ron Schuchard, PhD, Executive Director of Envision Research Institute and Envision University presented their recent study on the association between loneliness in patients with low vision and the association with pet/human companionship.

While it is reported that up to 16% of people aged 65 or over report feeling lonely all or most of the time, 44% of people who have vision loss report feeling lonely all or most of the time.

Their research included more than 200 patients in Dr. Fletcher’s Low Vision practice. They found that 59% of all participants felt that owning a pet was very helpful, reduced their feelings of loneliness and even become trusted listeners with or without human companionship.

“Since animals, particularly dogs, love going for walks, they can also encourage their owners to get out into the world and provide opportunities for socialization,” Fletcher stated. “Our pets can be ever-present companions. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Having a trusted animal means you are never alone.”

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