Evaluation of low vision services on the quality of life of individuals with age-related macular degeneration

  • Louise James

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisOphthalmic Doctorate


Background: Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a major cause of irreversible visual loss in the elderly and a significant threat to their quality of life. Although low vision services often improve the functional outcomes of individuals with macular disease, it remains unclear whether or not they have any impact on quality of life. The principal aim of this study was to determine the effect of a hospital-based low vision clinic on the quality of life of individuals with ARMD.

Methods: Forty patients with ARMD attended the low vision clinic at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Quality of life was measured with the vision-specific Low Vision Quality of Life (LVQOL) questionnaire and the general health EuroQol (EQ-5D-5L) questionnaire. Measures were completed at baseline (time zero, T0), and at three- (T3) and six-month (T6) follow-up visits.

Results: The near visual acuity of individuals attending the low vision clinic for the first time improved significantly between visits T0 and T3 (p=0.005), reflecting the practiced use of their newly-dispensed low vision aids. As expected, there was no significant change in near acuity over this time period for existing patients. For both new and existing patients, a significant increase in LVQOL score was evident between visits T0 and T3, with a further significant improvement between T3 and T6. Similarly, there was a significant decrease in EQ-5D-5L questionnaire scores between visits T0 and T6.

Conclusions: The higher LVQOL scores obtained at the end of the study period (T6) provide evidence that low vision services at Milton Keynes University Hospital served to improve patient quality of life. The reduction in EQ-5D-5L scores over the same time period suggests that low vision services also provide for an improvement in general health-related quality of life.

Impact: The findings support the cause of low vision services to improve not only the vision and functional outcomes of individuals with macular disease but also their quality of life. Moreover, the findings suggest that a more efficient allocation of resources at low vision clinics may be possible through the standardisation of patient follow-up frequency.
Date of AwardAug 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorStephen Anderson (Supervisor)


  • ARMD
  • EQ-5D
  • Hospital Eye Service
  • questionnaire

Cite this