Impact of visual impairment on quality of life: a comparison with quality of life in the general population and with other chronic conditions

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. May-Jun 2007;14(3):119-26. doi: 10.1080/09286580601139212.


Purpose: Subjective evaluation of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and health status is recognized as an important tool in the assessment and treatment of visually impaired patients. The aims of this study are to describe the generic HRQoL and health status of visually impaired patients and to compare the HRQoL of visually impaired patients with that of both the general population of the Netherlands and patients with other chronic conditions.

Methods: 128 persons attending a rehabilitation centre for visually impaired adults completed the EuroQol questionnaire (EQ-5D). These patients' EQ-5D scores were compared with EQ-5D norms of the Dutch population and of patients with other chronic conditions; both sets of data were taken from the literature.

Results: The average EQ-5Dindex score of the total study population was 0.73 (SD 0.22). Visually impaired patients reported more problems on every dimension of the EQ-5D than the general Dutch population. Only stroke patients and patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and reported more problems on every dimension of the EQ-5D than visually impaired patients.

Conclusions: Visual impairment has a substantial impact on the quality of life; compared with other chronic conditions, it seems to affect the HRQoL, spoiling the quality of life more than diabetes type II, coronary syndrome, and hearing impairments, but less than stroke, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, major depressive disorder, and severe mental illness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vision, Low / psychology*
  • Visually Impaired Persons / psychology*