Utility of the National Eye Institute VFQ-25 questionnaire in a heterogeneous group of multiple sclerosis patients

Am J Ophthalmol. 2006 Sep;142(3):464-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2006.04.051.


Purpose: To investigate the utility of the 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) in assessing visual function in a heterogeneous group of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and to identify correlations of VFQ-25 scores with clinically relevant objective visual parameters.

Design: Comparative cohort study.

Methods: The VFQ-25 was distributed to 34 patients with clinically definite MS. Patients underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination, including Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) visual acuity (V(A)), Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity (CS), Humphrey visual field 30 to 2 (HVF), and Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue color vision (100-Hue). Expanded Disability Status Scores (EDSS) were recorded for each patient. Comparative analyses using chi2 tests and t tests were performed. Spearman rank correlation coefficients were computed to identify relationships between VFQ-25 scores and the aforementioned visual parameters.

Results: In comparison with a published reference group without ocular disease, MS patients had considerably worse VFQ-25 composite scores (P < .01), being similar to published cohorts of glaucoma and cataract patients. VFQ-25 composite scores were found to be modestly and significantly correlated with several clinical parameters, including: V(A) (r = -0.63, P < .001), CS (r = 0.60, P < .001), HVF (r = 0.53, P = .003), and 100-Hue (r = -0.48, P = .01). EDSS scores, the use of disease modifying agents, and having a history of previous optic neuritis did not correlate significantly with VFQ-25 composite scores.

Conclusions: The VFQ-25 questionnaire is a sensitive and useful tool in assessing visual function in MS patients. Such patients have quality of life indices similar to glaucoma and cataract patients, underscoring the significance of visual symptoms in MS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Quality of Life
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology