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Zimei Zhou, Pearl Rosenbaum, Jonathan Levine; Evaluating Visual Impairment Caused by Floaters in Patients with or without Psychiatric Disorders. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5573.
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To compare self-reported visual impairment caused by floaters in patients with and without psychiatric diseases.
Patients who complained of floaters and/or had dilated fundus examinations significant only for PVD or vitreous syneresis were enrolled into the study, and were then categorized into psychiatric problems positive (PP) or negative (PN) groups based on chart review. Patients with visually significant posterior segment pathology were excluded. A visual functioning survey was performed for every enrolled patient, designed to measure the degree of impairment of the visual quality caused by floaters utilizing four subscales: general visual quality; frequency and duration of floaters; impact on daily functioning and impact on life quality. The scores to each question in the survey ranged from 1 to 5, with higher scores indicating worse outcome. The score for each question was then converted to a 100% scale and the differences between the two groups of patients were analyzed statistically using Student’s t-test.
Of the 20 enrolled patients, 11 had no history of psychiatric disorders, and 9 had various psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The subscale scores measuring frequency and duration of floaters, as well as its impact on daily functioning including near and distant vision were not significantly different between the PP vs PN group (mean score 4.1 vs 3.6, p=0.23 for subscale of frequency and duration of floaters; mean score 1.5 vs 1.3, p=0.20 for subscale of daily functioning). However, the patients in the PP group reported significantly worse general visual quality (mean score 3.1 vs 1.7, p=0.003) and compromised overall life quality (mean score 2.8 vs 1.7, p=0.008) due to symptomatic floaters as compared to those in the PN group.
Our data suggest that preexisting psychiatric conditions may exacerbate patients’ symptomatology of floaters. Moreover, careful evaluation of mental health status may be warranted when considering invasive floaterectomy/vitrectomy for symptomatic floaters.
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