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Comparing Quality of Life in Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

Research has shown that trouble with vision can negatively impact patients’ quality of life. Now, a study compared quality of life outcomes in people with AMD and glaucoma.

Both dry-type age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) mainly affect older adults and can cause blind spots or blindness. Neither condition has a cure, but treatment can slow disease progression. Research has shown that trouble with vision can negatively impact patients’ quality of life. Now, a study recently published in the journal Eye assessed whether patients with one of these two conditions suffer more than those with the other.

Researchers matched dry AMD and POAG patients based on age, sex, and visual acuity. The patients were evaluated with standard automated perimetry (SAP) tests in two common threshold patterns — 24-2 and 10-2. Further evaluations included the CSV-1000 HGT instrument for contrast sensitivity and the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25) for quality of life.

These scores were converted to fit a 0 to 100 scale. When it came to the NEI-VFQ-25, higher scores indicated better vision-related quality of life. Average scores in the AMD and POAG groups were similar — 84.66 and 86.44, respectively.

“The highest scores were obtained in ‘vision-related dependency’ subgroup in glaucoma and ‘color and peripheral vision’ in AMD group, whereas the lowest scores were noted ‘in peripheral vision’ in both glaucoma and AMD patients,” the researchers explained.

When compared to patients with AMD, those with glaucoma had significantly lower scores in ocular pain, color vision, and peripheral vision. On the other hand, patients with AMD had lower scores in near and distance vision activities, vision-related social activity, and dependency.

The takeaway message here is that patients with AMD or POAG, with similar visual acuity, have similar overall quality of life impairment. However, differences emerge when looking at subgroups.

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