Does non-strabismic amblyopia affect the quality of life of adults? Findings from a qualitative study

Sheela Evangeline Kumaran, Archayeeta Rakshit, Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen, Jyoti Khadka, Konrad Pesudovs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: While much is known about the psychosocial impacts of strabismus, little is known about the effects of non-strabismic amblyopia on quality of life (QoL). The aim of this study was to explore the long-term impacts of anisometropic amblyopia. Methods: A phenomenological qualitative investigation was carried out on a sample of adults with anisometropic amblyopia. Subjects participated in in-depth telephone interviews and described how their eye condition affected different aspects of their life. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed iteratively to form emergent themes. Results: Sixteen participants took part in the study (median age: 21.5 years; range: 18–36 years; 11 male and 5 female). Six themes emerged: (1) symptoms experienced by participants, (2) concerns and apprehensions, (3) emotional impacts, (4) activity limitations, (5) hassle and inconveniences and (6) economic and career implications. Symptoms reported by participants ranged from glare to difficulty concentrating. They were extremely concerned about the safety of their better eye and lived with several doubts and anxieties. Negative emotions such as grief and disappointment due to eye care negligence in childhood was apparent. Guilt and regretful feelings were present in those who did not comply with past treatment. Participants expressed several limitations in driving, reading, mobility (e.g., using stairs) and tasks requiring high resolution. Reported inconveniences associated with coping with their eye condition included having to travel across the country in search of a cure for their amblyopia. Economic impacts ranged from costs associated with accessing eye care and management to career choices being compromised. Conclusion: Lived experiences of people with anisometropic amblyopia indicate that the QoL impacts are multifaceted and substantial, even in the absence of strabismus. The results have the potential to influence patient-practitioner relationship by opening newer horizons to communication and care while managing adult amblyopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1006
Number of pages11
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • adults
  • amblyopia
  • anisometropic amblyopia
  • impacts
  • qualitative study
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry
  • Sensory Systems

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