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The effect of visual impairment on quality of life of children aged 3–16 years
  1. Rasmeet K Chadha1,
  2. Ahalya Subramanian2
  1. 1Optometry Department, Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, City University, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Miss Rasmeet K Chadha, Optometry Department, Oxford Eye Hospital, West Wing (LG1), John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; rasmeet11{at}


Background It is well known that visual impairment (VI) has a detrimental effect on Quality of Life (QoL) in adults. Little is known about the effects of VI in childhood.

Aims To evaluate the effects of VI on QoL of children. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study containing a comparison arm for children with VI.

Methods QoL in children with VI (n=24, age 10.13±2.89, 18 male, 6 female) was compared with an age-matched comparison group (n=24, age 9.83±2.81, 18 male, 6 female) using the Low Vision Quality of Life Questionnaire. Factors (distance and near visual acuity and age) that could be used as predictors of QoL were assessed. These were measured with standard clinical tests.

Results Children with VI had significantly lower QoL scores than the comparison group (p<0.001), resulting in a 35.6% reduction in total QoL score. QoL scores in children with VI were correlated with distance and near visual acuity (p<0.05). 38% of the variance could be predicted by these factors and age.

Conclusions Consideration of the effects of this reduced QoL must be made. Further studies are needed to establish the benefit to QoL of different habilitation strategies.

  • Vision
  • low vision aid
  • rehabilitation
  • child health (paediatrics)

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained from the parents.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Oxfordshire REC B.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.