Existing research shows the connection between vision loss in glaucoma and factors such as age and sex. But a new Italian study shows that sociodemographic elements, such as education, employment, profession and marital status, can all significantly influence patients as well.1

Following recent studies out of Scotland and England that suggest patients residing within areas of socioeconomic deprivation present more frequently with—and at later stages of—glaucoma, the group sought to uncover how visual quality of life was impacted by similar hardships.2,3 The researchers had 3,227 subjects complete the Italian version of a 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25).1 This questionnaire has 12 subsets: general health, general vision, ocular pain, near activities, distance activities, social functioning, mental health, role difficulties, dependency, driving, color vision and peripheral vision. The patients’ symptoms were later assessed using the validated Italian version of the Glaucoma Symptom Scale. Sociodemographic information was also collected (age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, educational status, housing status, employment and profession). The subjects were evaluated over the course of 16 months.

What the team found was that those who scored low on the sociodemographic scale also scored significantly higher on the Glaucoma Symptom Scale, indicating that greater personal strife is associated with stronger glaucoma symptoms, including functional damage.1

1. Riva I, Legramandi L, Katsanos A, et al. Influence of socio-demographic factors on disease characteristics and vision-related quality of life in primary open angle glaucoma patients. J Glaucoma. May 17, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].
2. Ng WS, Agarwal PK, Sidiki S, et al. The effect of socio-economic deprivation on severity of glaucoma at presentation. Br J Ophthalmol. 2010;94:85-7.
3. Fraser S, Bunce C, Wormald R, et al. Deprivation and late presentation of glaucoma: casecontrol study. BMJ. 2001;322:639-643.