Aim: To investigate visual and functional impact of glasses following cataract surgery in a high-volume cataract camp as measured by the World Health Organization Prevention of Blindness Visual Function Questionnaire (WHO/PBD-VFQ-20).
Method: Subjects were administered the WHO/PBD-VFQ three times: (1) preoperatively; (2) 3 months postoperatively, before glasses; and (3) 6 months postoperatively, after 3 months with glasses. Patients were given prescription glasses or +2.50 readers at the 3-month follow-up.
Results: 315 patients enrolled in the study; 113 patients had complete WHO/PBD-VFQ and visual acuity data from all three administrations. The mean preoperative visual acuity in the surgical eye was 20/327. Following cataract surgery but before glasses, visual acuity improved to 20/57. Total WHO/PBD-VFQ and subscale scores improved significantly at the 3-month point. With glasses, visual acuity improved to 20/43. Total WHO/PBD-VFQ scores did not change following glasses, although the overall and near vision subscales did improve significantly. Glasses were worn once per week or less in 56% of patients.
Conclusion: Postoperative glasses result in modest improvements in visual acuity. Total WHO/PBD-VFQ scores did not change significantly following glasses, but the overall and near vision subscales did improve. The net beneficial effect of glasses was small relative to cataract surgery itself.