Diabetic retinopathy tied to lower vision-related quality of life

Key Takeaways

  • People with diabetic retinopathy have a lower vision-related quality of life than healthy individuals.  
  • Vision-related quality of life worsens with worsening diabetic retinopathy severity.

The association between diabetic retinopathy (DR) and quality of life (QoL) has not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, Mohammed G. Zayed, from University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies) to identify studies evaluating the association between DR and QoL.

Based on eight studies (1,138 participants with DR and 347 participants without DR), the researchers found that compared with participants without DR, the composite National Eye Institute 25-item Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) score was 3.8 points lower in those with non-vision-threatening DR, 12.5 points lower in those with any DR, and 25.1 points lower in vision-threatening DR. (According to the National Eye Institute, the VFQ-25 measures the dimensions of self-reported vision-targeted health status that are most important for persons who have chronic eye diseases.)

Based on 35 studies (6,351 participants with DR), the pooled mean VFQ-25 composite score was 91.8 for participants with non-vision-threatening DR, 77.6 for any DR, and 73.2 for vision-threatening DR. There were weak or no associations between health-related QoL and non-vision-threatening DR and strong associations with vision-threatening DR.

“This study found that VRQoL declined with the presence and severity of DR,” the authors write. “Interventions to reduce progression of DR at both early and more advanced stages could improve VRQoL.” The results were published in JAMA Ophthalmology

Source: Lori Solomon, Medical Xpress, February 6, 2024; see source article