Vision-Related Quality of Life Differs by Glaucoma Type

Optic disc affected by glaucoma.
Patients with POAG demonstrated notable reductions in quality of life compared with patients with normal tension glaucoma.

Patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) tend to have more severe determinants to their vision-related quality of life (VRQOL) than those with normal tension glaucoma (NTG), according to research published in the Journal of Glaucoma

Researchers conducted a survey of 793 glaucoma patients in Korea using the Nation Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25). They also collected patients’ clinical, demographic, and socioeconomic data. Of the patients surveyed, 287 had POAG and 506 had NTG. 

Researchers’ findings show statistically significant poorer social function (P =.016) and dependency (P =.026) in participants with POAG compared with those with NTG. While the remaining sections of the VRQOL (ocular pain, near and distance activities, mental health, role difficulties, and ability to drive) and the overall score followed this trend, the results were not statistically significant. Researchers suggest that these differences may exist because patients with POAG have greater difficulty with social functioning. Trouble with nonverbal communications such as gestures and expressions, recognizing others, maintaining eye contact, and the need for caution when mobile all affect VRQOL, the research suggests. 

The researchers reported no significant difference between the groups regarding work achievement and ability to sustain hobbies.

The greater dependency seen in POAG patients (which include a need to stay at home, relying on others due to visual limitations) is likely due to their poorer integrated binocular visual field (IVF) values in the inferior center and inferior periphery, than those with NTG.

This study is limited by the use of the NEI VFQ-25, which is not designed for patients with glaucoma or visual field impairments and was created based on a Western population. Additionally, the researchers used monocular visual field to implement binocular visual field, affecting the accuracy of the results. 


Chun YS, Sung KR, Park CK, et al. Comparison of vision-related quality of life between normal tension glaucoma and primary open-angle glaucoma. J Glaucoma. 2022;31(5):322-328. doi:10.1097/ijg.0000000000002007