Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Erin Schwier, EdD, OTD, OTR/L

Third Advisor

Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Low Vision, Esthetics, Personal Autonomy, Self-Concept, Quality of Life, Self-Esteem


Vision loss affects roughly 285 million people globally and is one of the leading causes of age-related disability which can lead to reduced quality of life (QoL) and increased levels of depression and anxiety (van der Aa, Bruin, van Rens, Twisk, & van Nispen, 2015). Occupational therapists have been involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with low vision since 1917 (Warren, 1995) and are significant to the low vision community due to their knowledge and expertise addressing occupational limitations while taking into consideration psychosocial factors that result from vision loss. However, there appears to be gaps in the literature related to helping the vision loss population with self-image, appearance, and performance in aesthetic techniques. This capstone project will focus on the assessment of need and development of a class at the Braille Institute San Diego that highlights aesthetic techniques for individuals with blindness and low vision, considering all genders and age groups. The purpose of this class is to help this specific population enhance performance in aesthetic occupations and/or explore areas in aesthetics they may be interested in to incorporate in their daily routines. The aesthetic techniques program was held at the Braille Institute San Diego and consisted of two classes titled “Skincare and Hairstyling 101” and “Makeup 101”. A total of twenty-two subjects were enrolled in the classes. This project utilized a mixed-methods design using a pre and post oral interview which consists of quantitative and qualitative questions as an outcome measure. These questions examined themes that pertain to self-image perception, confidence with aesthetic performance, aesthetic interests, and learned techniques. Results from the interview revealed that students had an increase in their self-confidence, self-esteem, and occupational performance in aesthetics. Furthermore, students reported that this program helped them gain a sense of empowerment which include being an advocate for themselves and their personal autonomy. The lack of studies and programs on aesthetic techniques for people with visual impairments highlight the importance of research and program development aimed at enabling this population to live a full and satisfied life. Therefore, further research, projects, and advocacy work is greatly needed.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy