Purpose: To validate the Visual Function-14 (VF-14) index of functional visual impairment in candidates for a corneal graft.
Methods: One hundred thirty-four patients who were candidates for a corneal graft participated in this study between August 1996 and February 1997. Demographic, ocular history, best-corrected visual acuity, and detailed ocular examination data were collected. Functional visual impairment information was obtained by telephone interviews using the following: VF-14, SF-36 (Short Form-36, a more generic measure of general health function), and Visual Symptom Score, and four questions measuring the overall amount of trouble with vision, dissatisfaction with vision, ocular pain, and discomfort.
Results: The average age of corneal graft candidates was 64 +/- 18 years (range, 18 to 90 years) and 60% were women. The most frequent corneal disease was pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (41%). Ocular comorbidities included glaucoma or ocular hypertension (30%) and cataract (19%). The mean best-corrected visual acuity of the eye scheduled for surgery was 1.33 +/- 0.56 logMAR whereas the best eye best-corrected visual acuity was 0.36 +/- 0.44 logMAR. The mean VF-14 score was 73% +/- 26%, and the internal consistency was high, with a Cronbach alpha value of 0.94. The VF-14 correlated strongly with the best eye best-corrected visual acuity. It also correlated strongly with the Visual Symptom Score, the global measures of trouble and dissatisfaction with vision. Candidates for a corneal graft had low scores for all eight general health concepts evaluated with the SF-36, and the VF-14 correlated with seven of the eight SF-36 subscales.
Conclusion: The VF-14 is a valid measure of functional visual impairment in candidates for a corneal graft. The Visual Symptom Score and the SF-36 are also useful indices in such patients.