Cataract visual impairment and quality of life in a Kenyan population.

Polack, S; Kuper, H; Mathenge, W; Fletcher, A; Foster, A; (2007) Cataract visual impairment and quality of life in a Kenyan population. The British journal of ophthalmology, 91 (7). pp. 927-32. ISSN 0007-1161 DOI:

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AIMS: To evaluate the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness and Deafness 20-item Visual Functioning Questionnaire (WHO/PBD VF20), a vision-related quality of life scale, and to describe the relationship between cataract visual impairment and vision- and generic health-related quality of life, in people >/=50 years of age in Nakuru district, Kenya. METHODS: The WHO/PBD VF20 was pilot tested and modified. 196 patients with visual impairment from cataract and 128 population-based controls without visual impairment from cataract were identified through a district-wide survey. Additional cases were identified through case finding. Vision- and health-related quality of life were assessed using the WHO/PBD VF20 scale and EuroQol generic health index (European Quality of Life Questionnaire (EQ-5D)), respectively. WHO/PBD VF20 was evaluated using standard psychometric tests, including factor analysis to determine item grouping for summary scores. RESULTS: The modified WHO/PBD VF20 demonstrated good psychometric properties. Two subscales (general functioning and psychosocial) and one overall eyesight-rating item were appropriate for these data. Increased severity of visual impairment in cases was associated with worsening general functioning, psychosocial and overall eyesight scores (p for trend <0.001). Cases were more likely to report problems with EQ-5D descriptive dimensions than controls (p<0.001), and, among cases, increased severity of visual impairment was associated with worsening self-rated health score. CONCLUSION: The modified WHO/PBD VF20 is a valid and reliable scale to assess vision-related quality of life associated with cataract visual impairment in this Kenyan population. The association between health-related quality of life and visual impairment reflects the wider implications of cataract for health and well-being, beyond visual acuity alone.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: The International Centre for Evidence in Disability
International Centre for Eye Health
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 17272387
Web of Science ID: 247347700024


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