Purpose: To report piloting and initial validation of the VQoL_CYP, a novel age-appropriate vision-related quality of life (VQoL) instrument for self-reporting by children with visual impairment (VI).
Methods: Participants were a random patient sample of children with VI aged 10-15 years. 69 patients, drawn from patient databases at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital, United Kingdom, participated in piloting of the draft 47-item VQoL instrument, which enabled preliminary item reduction. Subsequent administration of the instrument, alongside functional vision (FV) and generic health-related quality of life (HRQoL) self-report measures, to 101 children with VI comprising a nationally representative sample enabled further item reduction and evaluation of psychometric properties using Rasch analysis. Construct validity was assessed through Pearson correlation coefficients.
Results: Item reduction through piloting (8 items removed for skewness and individual item response pattern) and validation (1 item removed for skewness and 3 for misfit in Rasch) produced a 35-item scale, with fit values within acceptable limits, no notable differential item functioning, good measurement precision, ordered response categories and acceptable targeting in Rasch. The VQoL_CYP showed good construct validity, correlating strongly with HRQoL scores, moderately with FV scores but not with acuity.
Conclusions: Robust child-appropriate self-report VQoL measures for children with VI are necessary for understanding the broader impacts of living with a visual disability, distinguishing these from limited functioning per se. Future planned use in larger patient samples will allow further psychometric development of the VQoL_CYP as an adjunct to objective outcomes assessment.