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J Optom. 2014 Jan-Mar;7(1):37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.optom.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Visual functions and disability in diabetic retinopathy patients.

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B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal. Electronic address:
Department of Ophthalmology, Kathmandu University Medical College. Dhulikhel, Nepal.



This study was undertaken to find correlations between visual functions and visual disabilities in patients with diabetic retinopathy.


A cross-sectional study was carried out among 38 visually impaired diabetic retinopathy subjects at the Low Vision Clinic of B.P. Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Kathmandu. The subjects underwent assessment of distance and near visual acuity, objective and subjective refraction, contrast sensitivity, color vision, and central and peripheral visual fields. The visual disabilities of each subject in their daily lives were evaluated using a standard questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis between visual functions and visual disabilities index was assessed.


The majority of subjects (42.1%) were of the age group 60-70 years. Best corrected visual acuity was found to be 0.73±0.2 in the better eye and 0.93±0.27 in the worse eye, which was significantly different at p=0.002. Visual disability scores were significantly higher for legibility of letters (1.2±0.3) and sentences (1.4±0.4), and least for clothing (0.7±0.3). Visual disability index for legibility of letters and sentences was significantly correlated with near visual acuity and peripheral visual field. Contrast sensitivity was also significantly correlated with the visual disability index, and total scores.


Impairment of near visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and peripheral visual field correlated significantly with different types of visual disability. Hence, these clinical tests should be an integral part of the visual assessment of diabetic eyes.


Diabetic retinopathy; Disfunciones visuales; Funciones visuales; Retinopatía diabética; Visual disabilities; Visual functions

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