The National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire: experience of the ONTT. Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial

S R Cole, R W Beck, P S Moke, R L Gal, D T Long
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2000, 41 (5): 1017-21

PURPOSE: To describe the health-related quality of life, measured with the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ), of patients several years after the onset of optic neuritis, according to their neurologic and visual status; to assess the relationship between the NEI-VFQ subscales and clinical measures of visual function; and to assess the internal consistency reliability of the NEI-VFQ subscales.

METHODS: The NEI-VFQ was administered to 244 patients 5 to 8 years after treatment for an episode of acute optic neuritis as part of the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial. Visual acuity, visual field, contrast sensitivity, and color vision were measured at the same time as questionnaire completion.

RESULTS: The NEI-VFQ scores generally were lower than those reported for a disease-free group. Reported dysfunction was greater when multiple sclerosis was present and when visual acuity was abnormal, supporting the construct validity of the NEI-VFQ. Rank correlations between the NEI-VFQ subscales and clinical measures of visual function were moderate at best. Internal consistency reliability was generally high for most of the NEI-VFQ subscales.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings add support to the use of the NEI-VFQ as a valuable measure of self-reported visual impairment.

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