Objective: To assess the impact of visual impairment on the quality of life (QOL) of patients with diabetic retinopathy attending the Retina Eye Clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Method: A questionnaire modelled from the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEIVFQ-25) was administered to 150 patients with diabetic retinopathy. The questions ranged from concern with their vision, health and social problems to functional ability. The associations between an overall QOL score and level of visual impairment among other variables were assessed using chi-square test and the t test in the SPSS software.
Results: The mean age was 56 ± 10 years. Sixty-six percent were females. Type 2 diabetes was more common in 63% and 79% of the females and males, respectively. There were significant negative associations between QOL and increased duration of diabetes mellitus (DM) (p = 0.016), reduced vision (left eye; p < 0.049), reduced monthly income (p = 0.008), lack of compliance with exercise (p = 0.021), and a special diet (p = 0.01). There were no significant relationships between QOL and age (p = 0.495), marital status (p = 0.318) and DM type (p = 0.651).
Conclusion: Poorer QOL was associated with decreased left eye visual acuity, lower income and lack of compliance with exercise and special diet among patients with diabetic retinopathy at UHWI.