Objectives: Assessment of the relationship between visual function and functional status/quality of life in clinical research involving patients with eye disease by investigating whether the scores of four existing functional status/quality of life patient questionnaires are sensitive to differences in visual acuity and studying whether selected subscales of the questionnaires provide similar information concerning the relationship between functional status/quality of life and visual acuity as do the respective full-length questionnaires.
Design, setting, participants: Case patients consisted of 86 consecutive patients seen at The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute Retinal Vascular Center, Baltimore, Md. Controls consisted of 51 individuals with normal visual acuity and no known ocular disease and were frequency-matched to the case patients by age (+/- 5 years), sex, and race. Subjects were interviewed in person using each of the following questionnaires: the Sickness Impact Profile, the vision-specific Sickness Impact Profile, the Community Disability Scale, and the General Health Questionnaire.
Results: Scores of all four questionnaires and their subscales were significantly associated with visual acuity. The vision-specific Sickness Impact Profile and the Community Disability Scale were independently significant predictors of visual acuity. Regression analysis revealed that in our study, selected subscales of the respective full-length questionnaires were able to demonstrate the association between vision and functional status/quality of life.
Conclusions: Ophthalmic patients are at high risk for decreased functional status/quality of life. Subscales of existing questionnaires potentially may be substituted for the full-length questionnaires, thereby increasing the efficiency of functional status/quality of life measurement in such patients.