Purpose: To determine the extent to which commonly used clinical measures of corneal transplantation outcome are related to aspects of visual function and health-related quality of life.
Methods: In a cross-sectional validation study, ophthalmic examination information was collected by chart review of, and health-related quality of life information was collected by telephone contact with, patients (n = 77) undergoing routine follow-up examinations at least 1 year after corneal transplantation. A questionnaire that included the VF-14 and SF-36 instruments was completed for each participant. Associations between clinical and questionnaire outcomes were evaluated using analysis of variance and regression analyses.
Results: When the best-corrected visual acuity of both eyes was evaluated, there was a positive association (P < .0001) of visual acuity with the VF-14 score and with the following SF-36 scales: role limitations because of emotional problems (P = .04), emotional well-being (P = .08), and social functioning (P = .02). Those with a high degree of keratometric astigmatism showed an impact on social functioning (P = .005). Upon regression analysis, the single most important factor associated with the patients' reported visual function was their visual acuity in the better eye, followed by the extent of keratometric astigmatism.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a high degree of criterion validity in using the VF-14 instrument to assess the outcome of corneal transplantation. Application of the more generic SF-36 measure shows effects of visual disability on other aspects of corneal transplant patients' health status, including their emotional and social functioning.