Recognizing visual complaints in people with multiple sclerosis: Prevalence, nature and associations with key characteristics of MS

Fleur van der Feen*, Gera de Haan, Iris van der Lijn, F. Huizinga, Thea Heersema, Jan F. Meilof, Joost Heutink

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    Visual disturbances are common in multiple sclerosis (MS), but visual complaints may be underestimated. While these complaints decrease quality of life, they may not be discussed during clinic visits. People with MS (pwMS) may not be referred to appropriate care. We therefore investigated the prevalence, nature and associations of visual complaints of pwMS.
    We performed a cohort study with a comparison group. PwMS (n = 493) and healthy controls (n = 661) filled out the Screening Visual Complaints questionnaire (SVCq). Primary outcomes were the percentage of pwMS and controls that reported the 19 complaints, and total scores of the SVCq. We also compared the scores on the SVCq between different groups of pwMS.
    In general, the complaints were reported more often by pwMS than by controls. PwMS especially reported experiencing complaints ‘often/always’, while controls reported the complaints primarily ‘sometimes’. PwMS with and without a history of optic neuritis showed similar complaints. PwMS with a longer disease duration and those with SPMS reported more complaints. EDSS score and disease duration only showed a limited association with discomfort of visual complaints.
    The prevalence of visual complaints among pwMS is high and any person with MS may experience a wide array of different visual complaints anywhere along the disease course, regardless of a history of optic neuritis. Using the SVCq may help detect pwMS’ visual complaints and may facilitate referrals to appropriate care.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number103429
    Number of pages8
    JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022


    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Visual complaints
    • Rehabilitation
    • Vision
    • Prevalence
    • VISION
    • VFQ-25


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