The effect of visual impairment on quality of life of children aged 3-16 years

Rasmeet K Chadha, Ahalya Subramanian
British Journal of Ophthalmology 2011, 95 (5): 642-5

BACKGROUND: It is well known that visual impairment (VI) has a detrimental effect on Quality of Life (QoL) in adults. Little is known about the effects of VI in childhood.

AIMS: To evaluate the effects of VI on QoL of children. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study containing a comparison arm for children with VI.

METHODS: QoL in children with VI (n=24, age 10.13±2.89, 18 male, 6 female) was compared with an age-matched comparison group (n=24, age 9.83±2.81, 18 male, 6 female) using the Low Vision Quality of Life Questionnaire. Factors (distance and near visual acuity and age) that could be used as predictors of QoL were assessed. These were measured with standard clinical tests.

RESULTS: Children with VI had significantly lower QoL scores than the comparison group (p<0.001), resulting in a 35.6% reduction in total QoL score. QoL scores in children with VI were correlated with distance and near visual acuity (p<0.05). 38% of the variance could be predicted by these factors and age.

CONCLUSIONS: Consideration of the effects of this reduced QoL must be made. Further studies are needed to establish the benefit to QoL of different habilitation strategies.

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