Measuring outcomes of vision rehabilitation with the veterans affairs low vision visual functioning questionnaire

Joan A. Stelmack, Janet P. Szlyk, Thomas R. Stelmack, Paulette Demers-Turco, R. Tracy Williams, D'Anna Moran, Robert W. Massof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To evaluate the sensitivity to change, in patients who undergo vision rehabilitation, of the Veteran Affairs (VA) Low Vision Visual Functioning Questionnaire (LV VFQ-48), which was designed to measure the difficulty visually impaired persons have in performing daily activities and to evaluate vision rehabilitation outcomes. METHODS. Before and after rehabilitation, the VA LV VFQ-48 was administered by telephone interview to subjects from five sites in the VA and private sector. Visual acuity of these subjects ranged from near normal to total blindness. RESULTS. The VA LV VFQ exhibited significant differential item functioning (DIF) for 7 of 48 items (two mobility tasks, four reading tasks, and one distance-vision task). However, the DIF was small relative to baseline changes in item difficulty for all items. Therefore, the data were reanalyzed with the constraint that item difficulties do not change with rehabilitation, which assigns all changes to the person measure. Subjects in the inpatient Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) program showed the largest changes in person measures after vision rehabilitation (effect size = 1.9; t-test P < 0.0001). The subjects in the outpatient programs exhibited smaller changes in person measures after rehabilitation (effect size = 0.29; t-test P < 0.01). There was no significant change in person measures for the control group (test-retest before rehabilitation). CONCLUSIONS. In addition to being a valid and reliable measure of visual ability, the VA LV VFQ-48 is a sensitive measure of changes that occur in visual ability as a result of vision rehabilitation. Patients' self-reports of the difficulty they experience performing daily activities measured with this instrument can be used to compute a single number, the person measure that can serve as an outcome measure in clinical studies. The VA LV VFQ-48 can be used to compare programs that offer different levels of intervention and serve patients across the continuum of vision loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3253-3261
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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