Impact of Retinitis Pigmentosa on Quality of Life, Mental Health, and Employment Among Young Adults

Am J Ophthalmol. 2017 May:177:169-174. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2017.02.016. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Purpose: To determine the relationship between visual function and quality of life, education, mental health, and employment among young adults with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Inclusion of 148 patients (mean age 38.2 ± 7.1 years) diagnosed with RP, living in France. Quality of life was assessed using the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25), mental state with the Hospital and Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and employment with a specifically designed questionnaire.

Results: Limited visual impairment was noted in 22.3%, low vision in 29.7%, and legal blindness in 48.0%. There was a correlation between quality-of-life scores and residual visual field (P < .0001). Mental health scores were suggestive of anxiety in 36.5% and depression in 15.5%. The rates did not increase with disability level (P = .738, P = .134). The percentage of subjects with higher education did not significantly decrease with disability level (P = .113). The employment rate did not significantly decrease with disability level (P = .276). It was lower in subjects reporting depression (P = .0414). Self-rated impact of RP on employment increased with disability level (P = .02642).

Conclusions: Our results differ from previous results showing lower education rates and employment rates in young adults with RP. Further research is warranted focusing on the impact of mental health, education, workplace conditions, and employment aids on employment rate vs age- and education-matched normally sighted controls to guide visual disability strategies in RP.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment / standards*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / epidemiology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / physiopathology
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Visual Acuity*
  • Young Adult