Purpose: To evaluate the effect of treatment, visual function, and other factors on vision-targeted health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with early glaucoma.
Design: Randomized clinical trial.
Participants: Two hundred fifty-five patients with newly detected open-angle glaucoma and repeatable early visual field (VF) defects, 50 to 80 years old (66% female).
Methods: Patients were randomized to receive either betaxolol plus laser trabeculoplasty in eligible eye(s) or no initial treatment and had ophthalmologic examinations every 3 months. A Swedish translation of the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25) was self-administered at 2 follow-up visits (3 and 6 years after randomization).
Main outcome: Multiple linear regression analyses determined the effect of treatment and other factors on (1) VFQ-25 composite scores at the first administration and (2) change in scores between administrations.
Results: Two hundred thirty-three patients had 1 NEI VFQ-25 administration and 167 patients had 2 administrations. Internal consistency reliability was high for the composite VFQ-25 score (Cronbach alpha = 0.88) and satisfactory (alpha> or =0.76) for most subscale scores. At the first administration, the composite score was high (88.8+/-11.7). Mean subscale scores were also generally high (98.0-58.3) and were similar for each study group when analyzed separately. Most lower subscale scores were modestly but significantly related to worse visual acuity (VA) or mean deviation (MD) (better eye, r = 0.15-0.35). Composite scores were similar for treated and untreated patients. Lower composite scores were associated with low VA in the better eye (worse than 0.70) and worse perimetric MD (<4.16 decibels) and nuclear lens opacities (Lens Opacities Classification System II grade > or = 2), but not with age, gender, VF progression, intraocular pressure, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension. Between VFQ-25 administrations, larger decreases in the composite score were associated with larger decreases in VA (P<0.05), female gender (P = 0.001), and older age at first administration (P = 0.006). Treatment (assigned at randomization or later in the study) was not associated with change in HRQOL.
Conclusions: Results suggest that absence or delay of treatment did not influence vision-targeted HRQOL in these newly diagnosed glaucoma patients. However, visual function affected vision-targeted quality of life up to 6 years after Early Manifest Glaucoma Trial enrollment.