Depression and burden among the caregivers of visually impaired patients: a systematic review
Caregiving has evolved as an important issue not only for those receiving care, but for those providing it as well. While caregiving allows those with disabilities to better adapt, it has been shown to take a toll on the caregiver on various levels, such as invoking depression and burden. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature pertaining to depression and burden among caregivers of patients with visual impairment. A comprehensive literature search using multiple databases was conducted to include all articles on burden of care or depression among the caregivers of the visually impaired. Nine studies were included in this review. There was demonstrable association of depression and burden with the caregivers of the visually impaired. Communication theory, emotional contagion, and care burden were cited as factors associated with depression in these studies. A number of other elements were also identified to play a role in depression and burden, such as providing greater hours of supervision to the patient, multiple chronic conditions in the patient or caregiver, patient not completing vision rehabilitation, and female gender of the caregiver. By identifying those at risk for decreased quality of life outcomes, health care providers may be able to alter the management of the visually impaired, such as advocating the use of vision rehabilitation clinics in order to minimize the caregiver burden and depression.