Relationship between vision impairment and eye disease to vision-specific quality of life and function in rural India: The aravind comprehensive eye survey

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science








PURPOSE. To determine the impact of vision impairment and eye diseases on vision-specific quality of life and visual function in an older population of rural southern India. METHODS. Presenting and best-corrected visual acuity and burden of eye diseases were determined in a population aged 40 years and older, identified through a random cluster sampling strategy from 50 villages of rural south India. A questionnaire validated previously for use in this population was used to ascertain quality of life and visual function. Visual acuity measurements were obtained with illiterate E Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) charts. Cataract was graded and defined based on the Lens Opacities Classification System (LOCS) III. Macular degeneration was defined based on the classification system proposed by the International ARM Epidemiologic Study Group. Glaucoma was defined based on results of clinical examinations including optic disc and visual fields. Analyses were performed to explore the relationship of overall and subscale quality-of-life and visual function scores with presenting acuity in the better-seeing eye, specific eye diseases, and demographic variables. RESULTS. Information on quality of life and visual function were available for 5119 (99.4%) of 5150 study subjects. The mean presenting visual acuity in the better eye was 0.76 ± 0.53 logMAR (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution) units. Age, education, occupation, presenting acuity in the better eye, and presence of a cataract, glaucoma, or refractive error were independently associated with overall quality-of-life and vision function scores. After adjustment for demographic variables and ocular disease, persons with vision impairment or bilateral blindness based on presenting visual acuity had lower scores across all domains of quality of life and vision function. Scores for subscales of quality-of-life and vision function domains were significantly lower among those with age-related cataract and glaucoma compared with persons without those eye diseases. CONCLUSIONS. Presenting vision in the better eye was associated with quality of life and vision function in this older population of rural south India. Subjects with glaucoma and age-related cataract had an associated decrease in quality of life and vision function, independent of presenting visual acuity in the better eye. Copyright © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.