The VF-14 and Psychological Impact of Amblyopia and Strabismus
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PURPOSE: To assess the impact of amblyopia, strabismus and glasses on subjective visual and psychological function among amblyopes. METHODS: Questionnaires were administered to 120 teenagers with amblyopia (cases), with residual amblyopia after treatment, or with or without strabismus and 120 control subjects (controls) Cases underwent ophthalmic examination including cycloplegic refraction. Two questionnaires (visual function 14 [VF-14] and a newly designed eight-item questionnaire) were administered to assess the psychological impact score of general daily life, having a weaker eye, glasses wear, and current noticeable strabismus. Questionnaires were validated in 60 subjects in each group by a second administration of the questionnaire. The VF-14 scores, psychological impact scores, and clinical data were compared. RESULTS: The VF-14 and psychological impact scores were highly reproducible. The mean VF-14 score for the control group was 95.5 and for the cases was 78.9 (P < 0.0001), but the scores did not correlate with the severity of amblyopia. The psychological impact score in general daily life was sensitive in discriminating between mild (median score 31) and moderate to severe (median score 56) amblyopes (P < 0.02). The cases segregated into two clear groups; those who scored high (large detrimental psychological impact) on psychological impact, with subjectively noticeable manifest strabismus, and those who scored low (low detrimental psychological impact), without noticeable strabismus. The subjective experience of patching treatment differentiated the two groups best of all. CONCLUSIONS: Subjective visual and psychological functions are altered compared with normal subjects due to amblyopia, strabismus, and a previous unpleasant patching experience. The mean VF-14 score was similar to that previously published for patients with glaucoma. The study underlines that amblyopia and/or strabismus have an impact on teenagers' subjective visual function and well-being.