JOURNAL ARTICLE

Visual impairment, visual functioning, and quality of life assessments in patients with glaucoma

R K Parrish
Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society 1996, 94: 919-1028
8981717

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: To determine the relation between visual impairment, visual functioning, and the global quality of life in patients with glaucoma.

METHODS: Visual impairment, defined with the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment; visual functioning, measured with the VF-14 and the Field Test Version of the National Eye Institute-Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ); and the global quality of life, assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), were determined in 147 consecutive patients with glaucoma.

RESULTS: None of the SF-36 domains demonstrated more than a weak correlation with visual impairment. The VF-14 scores were moderately correlated with visual impairment. Of the twelve NEI-VFQ scales, distance activities and vision specific dependency were moderately correlated with visual impairment. Of the twelve NEI-VFQ scales, distance activities and vision specific dependency were moderately correlated with visual field impairment; vision specific social functioning, near activities, vision specific role difficulties, general vision, vision specific mental health, color vision, and driving were modestly correlated; visual pain was weakly correlated; and two were not significantly correlated. Correcting for visual actuity weakened the strength of the correlation coefficients.

CONCLUSIONS: The SF-36 is unlikely to be useful in determining visual impairment in patients with glaucoma. Based on the moderate correlation between visual field impairment and the VF-14 score, this questionnaire may be generalizable to patients with glaucoma. Several of the NEI-VFQ scales correlate with visual field impairment scores in patients with a wide range of glaucomatous damage.

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