Depression impacts visual function

June 13, 2008

Depression in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients worsens vision-related function even where visual acuity is not compromised, according to a study published in the May 2008 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Depression in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients worsens vision-related function even where visual acuity is not compromised, according to a study published in the May 2008 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Professor H Gon Yu of the Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea and colleagues gave 144 RP patients the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ) to evaluate vision-related quality of life and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to assess symptoms of depression.

Based on BDI score, patients were categorized into two groups, depressed and non-depressed, and NEI-VFQ composite and subscale scores were compared between groups. The researchers found that, regardless of actual visual acuity or function, depressed patients had worse subjective visual function than non-depressed patients.

The lack of correlation between NEI-VFQ and BDI scores indicated to the researchers that depression has no impact on visual acuity in RP patients but that vision-related functions are decreased in depressed subjects; the researchers concluded that diagnosing and treating depression would improve quality of life for RP patients.