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Health literacy and vision-related quality of life
  1. K W Muir,
  2. C Santiago-Turla,
  3. S S Stinnett,
  4. L W Herndon,
  5. R R Allingham,
  6. P Challa,
  7. P P Lee
  1. Duke University Eye Center, Durham, NC, USA
  1. Dr K W Muir, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3802, Durham, NC 27710, USA; kelly.muir{at}


Background: Non-visual factors influence a person’s vision-related quality of life (VRQoL). The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between health literacy and VRQoL in glaucoma patients.

Methods: One hundred and ninety-five subjects with open-angle glaucoma participated in a cross-sectional patient survey and chart review.

Subjects were administered a test of health literacy, an assessment of physical and mental well-being, and an assessment of VRQoL, the National Eye Institute 25-Item Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25). Charts were reviewed for visual acuity and visual field results.

Results: In univariate analyses, older age (p<0.001), non-White race (p<0.001), worse visual acuity (p<0.001), worse visual field scores (p<0.001), lower level of education (p<0.001), worse health literacy (p<0.001) and worse score on the mental health component of the SF-12 (p = 0.005) were associated with worse VFQ-25 scores. In multivariate analyses, only older age was associated with worse total VFQ-25 scores (p<0.001), although the association between health literacy and the VFQ subscale of dependency remained significant (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Individuals with a lower health literacy do not appear to have a worse overall VRQoL compared with those with a higher literacy, but worse health literacy is associated with increased dependency.

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  • Funding: Research to Prevent Blindness, the Carr family, and an unrestricted grant from Pfizer. The funding organisations had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Patient consent: Informed consent was obtained for survey participation as well as for review of the medical record.

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