Prevalence and characteristics of ocular pain in non-infectious uveitis: a quality of life study

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Abstract

Background/aim

To survey the frequency, character, severity and impact of ocular pain on quality of life in adult patients with non-infectious uveitis (NIU).

Methods

This patient-requested cross-sectional survey study describes the results of three self-administered questionnaires (the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire, the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the McGill Pain Questionnaire Dutch Language Version) from 147 patients with NIUs from a university-based tertiary referral centre in Utrecht.

Results

The mean Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ) Ocular Pain Score of all patients with NIU was 72 (±24), which is significantly lower than an ocular disease-free reference group (90±15, P<0.0001), indicating more ocular pain. This was true for all types of NIU, regardless of the localisation: although Ocular Pain Scores were lower in patients with anterior uveitis (AU) compared with patients with non-AU (mean 62 (±24) vs 74 (±24), P=0.04), patients with non-AU still scored substantially lower than the reference group that had no ocular history (P<0.0001). Patients with NIU also scored significantly lower on all other VFQ subscales as well as on the SF-36 subscales ‘Role Limitations due to physical problems’, ‘Vitality’, ‘General health’ and ‘Bodily Pain’ compared with controls. The VFQ Ocular Pain subscale correlated with other quality of life subscales (both VFQ-25 and SF-36), indicating a relationship between pain and quality of life.

Conclusion

This study shows that ocular pain is highly prevalent in patients with NIU, regardless of the localisation. Furthermore, ocular pain has an impact on quality of life.

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