Quality of life in patients with visual impairment in Ibadan: a clinical study in primary care
Kehinde Adigun,1 Tunji S Oluleye,2 Modupe MA Ladipo,1 Samuel Anu Olowookere3
1Department of Family Medicine; 2Department of Ophthalmology, University College Hospital, Ibadan; 3Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Background: Visual function is important for optimal orientation in functional and social life, and has an effect on physical and emotional well-being. Visual impairment, therefore, leads to restrictions in all aspects of daily living and is related to quality of life. The aim of this study was to provide information on the causes of visual impairment in patients presenting to their family physician, the spectrum of impairment, and its impact on quality of life for these patients.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study of 375 adult patients with ocular symptoms was performed in the general outpatient department of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, from July to September, 2009. After checking their presenting visual acuity, the patients were interviewed using the Vision-Related Quality of Life questionnaire to determine the impact of visual impairment on their quality of life. Ophthalmic examinations were performed to determine the causes of visual impairment. The results were analyzed using proportions and percentages.
Results: The main causes of visual impairment were cataracts (58.7%), refractive error (19.4%), and glaucoma (2.9%). Visual impairment was found to be associated with advancing age, low education, and unemployment (P<0.001). Most patients (85.1%) were found to have good quality of life overall. Quality of life was found to be poor in the domains of visual function (64.2%) and social interaction (50.9%). Quality of life was found to be related to the degree of visual impairment, ie, blind patients reported poor quality of life (41.4%) when compared with those having low vision (8.6%) or near normal vision (2.4%, P<0.001).
Conclusion: This study identified poor quality of life in patients with a higher degree of visual impairment. Family physicians need to identify these visually impaired patients early and make timely referrals.
Keywords: quality of life, visual impairment, blindness, low vision
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