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J Refract Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;22(1):19-27.

A quality of life comparison of people wearing spectacles or contact lenses or having undergone refractive surgery.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.



To demonstrate the use of the Quality of Life Impact of Refractive Correction (QIRC) questionnaire for comparing the quality of life of pre-presbyopic individuals with refractive correction by spectacles, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.


The 20-item QIRC questionnaire was administered to 104 spectacle wearers, 104 contact lens wearers, and 104 individuals who had undergone refractive surgery (N = 312). These groups were similar for gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and refractive error. The main outcome measure was QIRC overall score (scaled from 0 to 100), a measure of refractive correction related quality of life. Groups were compared for overall QIRC score and on each question by analysis of variance, adjusted for age, with post hoc significance testing (Sheffé).


On average, refractive surgery patients scored significantly better (mean QIRC score 50.2 +/- 6.3, F(2,309) = 15.18, P < .001) than contact lens wearers (46.7 +/- 5.5, post hoc P < .001) who were in turn significantly better than spectacle wearers (44.1 +/- 5.9, post hoc P < .01). Convenience questions chiefly drove the differences between groups, although functioning, symptoms, economic concerns, heath concerns, and well being were also important. Spectacle wearers with low strength prescriptions (46.18 +/- 5.05) scored significantly better than those with medium strength prescriptions (42.74 +/- 6.08, F(2,190) = 3.66, P < .05, post hoc P < .05). A small number (n = 7, 6.7%) of refractive surgery patients experienced postoperative complications, which impacted quality of life (37.86 +/- 2.13).


Quality of life was lowest in spectacle wearers, particularly those with higher corrections. Contact lens wearers had significantly better QIRC score than spectacle wearers. Refractive surgery patients scored significantly better than both. However, this was accompanied by a small risk of poor quality of life due to postoperative complications. The QIRC is an effective outcome measure for quality of life impact of refractive correction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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