A recent study quantified and ranked the strength of association between visual function and quality of life domains specific to glaucoma patients. It revealed that driving and psychosocial domains tend to be most affected by glaucoma-related deterioration of visual function. The investigation also noted that primary open-angle glaucoma appears to impact the majority of quality of life domains, even at early stages of the disease.

The researchers, based at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a comprehensive review of 21 studies on quality of life in glaucoma patients. They included only the most recent studies that investigated the association of quality of life with parameters of visual structure as measured by SD-OCT. These studies used either the 25-item or 51-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire. The team ranked the strength of association between quality of life scores and visual function and structure on a scale from one (weakest) to 12 (strongest).

Associations were also reported between quality of life and visual function both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, with a stronger association of visual function and acuity with distance activities (average ranking 9.1 and 9.6, respectively), vision-specific dependency (8.7 and 8.9, respectively) and driving (8.6 and 9.7, respectively). The researchers noted that visual function loss was more strongly associated with social and psychological dimensions of quality of life, while visual acuity was more associated with functional dimensions of quality of life. The domains least associated with visual function were ocular pain and color vision. Interestingly, general health was also among the least associated domains.

The researchers believe that their approach provides more specific information on how glaucoma affects patients and allows clinicians to better anticipate and meet patient needs. “Since these scores were associated with objective functional and structural measurements of glaucoma, they could be used for more patient-centered management of disease,” the researchers concluded.

Khachtryan N, Pistilli M, Maguire MG, et al. A review of studies of the association of vision-related quality of life with measures of visual function and structure in patients with glaucoma in the United States. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. February 3, 2021. [Epub ahead of print].