An instrument for assessment of subjective visual disability in cataract patients
Coster, Douglas John
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The construction and validation of an instrument for the assessment of subjective visual disability in the cataract patient is described. This instrument is specifically designed for measuring the outcome of cataract surgery with respect to visual disability. METHODS: Visually related activities thought to be affected by cataract were considered for the questionnaire. These were reduced by pilot study and principal components analysis to 18 items. A patient's assessment of his/her ability to perform each task was scored on a four point scale. Scores were averaged to create an overall index of visual disability, as well as subscale indices for mobility related disability, distance/lighting/reading related disability, and near and related tasks visual disability. The questionnaire, administered verbally is entitled "The Visual Disability Assessment (VDA)". Reliability testing included test-retest reliability, interobserver reliability (p, the intraclass correlation coefficient), and internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha). Construct validation, the process for proving that a test measures what it is supposed to measure, included consideration of content validity, comparison with the established Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS) and empirical support with factor analysis. RESULTS: For the four indices, interobserver reliability varied from 0.92 to 0.94, test-retest reliability varied from 0.96 to 0.98, and internal consistency reliability varied from 0.80 to 0.93. The VDA compared favourably with the ADVS by correlation, but Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated that the two instruments were not clinically interchangeable. Factor analysis suggests that all test items measure a common theme, and the subgroupings reflect common themes. CONCLUSIONS: The VDA is easy to administer because it has a short test time and scoring is straightforward. It has excellent interobserver, test-retest, and internal consistency reliability, and compares favourably with the ADVS, another test of visual disability. Factor analysis demonstrated that the 18 items measure a related theme, which can be assumed to be visual disability. The VDA is a valid instrument which provides a comprehensive assessment of visual disability in cataract patients and is designed to detect changes within a patient over time.