Purpose: Improved quality of life after strabismus surgery has been demonstrated in adults, but has not been extensively studied in children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychosocial effects of childhood strabismus surgery.
Methods: This was a prospective interventional study. A modified version of the RAND Health Insurance Study quality of life instrument was administered to parents or guardians of children with strabismus. The questionnaire was administered by telephone interviews conducted by trained staff before and 2 months after corrective surgery.
Results: Ninety-eight children with a mean age of 4.5 (+/-3.3) years were studied. Reliability measures (Cronbach's alpha coefficients) indicate that the questionnaire has good internal consistency (alpha > 0.7 in most subscales). Compared with before surgery, significant improvements were noted after surgery, especially within the functional limitations (paired Student's t -test, P = 0.01), social relations ( P < 0.01), general health perceptions ( P < 0.01), and developmental satisfaction ( P < 0.01) subscales.
Conclusions: Parental proxies can provide meaningful measures of children's response to strabismus surgery. Statistically significant improvements were observed in social, emotional, and functional measures of the children's health status. As previously documented for adults, this study shows that psychosocial benefits afforded by strabismus surgery also contribute to an improvement in quality of life for children.