Understanding quality of life impact in people with retinal vein occlusion: a qualitative inquiry

Mallika Prem Senthil, Jyoti Khadka, Jagjit Gilhotra, Sumu Simon, Eva Fenwick, Ecosse Lamoureux, Konrad Pesudovs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although being the second most common sight-threatening retinal vascular disease after diabetic retinopathy, the patient-centred impact of retinal vein occlusion has not been well studied. This study aims to understand the quality of life issues in people with retinal vein occlusion using a qualitative methodology. Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 patients with retinal vein occlusion. All the interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. An inductive analytic approach based on the constant comparative method was used for coding, aggregation, and theme development. The qualitative analysis was done using the software NVivo. Results: Participants had a median age of 73 years (range 34–85 years; females, 71 per cent). Six quality of life themes were identified: concerns about the disease progression and treatment outcome (health concerns), emotional responses to the disease (emotional), experiencing a range of symptoms (symptoms), inability to do things as before (activity limitation), adapting to the visual loss (coping), and inconveniences due to the eye condition (convenience). Participants often felt that lasers and injections did not improve their vision. They feared that their eye condition may come back, or the other eye may be affected. They experienced a range of visual symptoms that affected their day-to-day performance, particularly reading small print, and driving at night. Having multiple treatments and frequent eye appointments were major sources of inconvenience. Patients adopted several coping strategies to manage the stress associated with visual loss. Conclusions: This study shows that several aspects of quality of life are compromised in people with retinal vein occlusion. The findings of this study will be used to identify the item content for a vitreoretinal disease-specific quality of life item bank.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-411
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number4
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • interviews
  • patient-reported outcome measures
  • qualitative
  • quality of life
  • retinal vein occlusion


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