Impact of refractive error on quality of life: a qualitative study

Himal Kandel, Jyoti Khadka, Michael Goggin, Konrad Pesudovs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


IMPORTANCE: This study qualitatively explores the impact of refractive error on adults, particularly after correction.

BACKGROUND: The study aimed to explore the impact of refractive error on quality of life.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional; in-depth telephone and face-to-face semistructured interviews; qualitative study with inductive and deductive processes.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-eight adults with refractive error (including presbyopia) were recruited from the Flinders Vision, the Ashford Advanced Eye Care and among Flinders University staff and students, in South Australia.

METHODS: The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded and analysed using thematic analysis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Themes and categories RESULTS: The median age of the participants was 49 years (min: 22 years; max: 76 years). Most of them were female: (29; 59%). Most of them (36; 75.0%) had myopia followed by hyperopia (12; 25.0%). Twenty-two (45.8%) participants had astigmatism. Similarly, 23 (47.9%) of them were presbyopes. Most of the participants (39; 81.3%) wore glasses; 17 (35.4%) used contact lenses, and 17 (35.4%) had undergone refractive surgery. A total of 2367 comments were coded. Thematic analysis resulted into six themes that informed about quality of life issues in people with refractive error. Concerns about cosmetic appearance, personal health and safety, difficulties in day-to-day activities and inconveniences rendered in daily life were identified as the most important themes.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this study enrich the understanding on the issues important in people with refractive error. The quality of life issues identified will be used to develop a refractive error-specific item bank.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-688
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contact Lenses
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Refractive Errors
  • Refractive Surgical Procedures
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article

Cite this