Objective: To develop and test the psychometric properties of a 25-item version of the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25).
Design: Prospective observational cohort study of persons with 1 of 5 chronic eye diseases or low vision who were scheduled for nonurgent visits in ophthalmology practices and a reference sample of persons without eye disease.
Setting: Eleven university-based ophthalmology practices and the NEI Clinical Center.
Patients: Eligible participants had to have 1 of the following eye conditions: age-related cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, primary open-angle glaucoma, cytomegalovirus retinitis, or low vision from any cause. Seven of the 12 sites also enrolled persons in a reference sample. Reference sample participants had no evidence of underlying eye disease but were scheduled for either screening eye examinations or correction of refractive error. All eligible persons had to be 21 years or older, English speaking, and cognitively able to give informed consent and participate in a health status interview.
Measurements and main results: To provide the data needed to create the NEI VFQ-25, all subjects completed an interview that included the 51-item NEI VFQ. Estimates of internal consistency indicate that the subscales of the NEI VFQ-25 are reliable. The validity of the NEI VFQ-25 is supported by high correlations between the short- and long-form versions of the measure, observed between-group differences in scores for persons with different eye diseases of varying severity, and the moderate-to-high correlations between the NEI VFQ-25 subscales that have the most to do with central vision and measured visual acuity.
Conclusions: The reliability and validity of the NEI VFQ-25 are comparable to those of the 51-item NEI VFQ field test version of the survey. This shorter version will be more feasible in settings such as clinical trials where interview length is a critical consideration. In addition, preliminary analyses indicate that the psychometric properties of the NEI VFQ-25 are robust for the eye conditions studied; this suggests that the measure will provide reproducible and valid data when used across multiple conditions of varying severity.