DescriptionBackground and aims While care for patients with multiple sclerosis is improving, vision problems may be underestimated and patients do not always receive appropriate care for these complaints. This is striking as vision problems may have a vast impact on quality of life and as vision is perceived by multiple sclerosis patients as extremely valuable. The aim of this study is to map the prevalence, nature and severity of subjective visual complaints. A better understanding of these complaints will improve rehabilitation for people with multiple sclerosis.
Method We developed a 19-item questionnaire to screen for subjective visual complaints, which was administered to 255 patients with multiple sclerosis in two Dutch hospitals.
Results Almost 90% of patients reported to have one or more visual complaints. The most common complaints were blurry vision, having difficulty focusing and photophobia, which were all experienced by more than half of the patients. In addition, needing more time to perceive visual information, having difficulty with reading or adapting to light or darkness and a reduced contrast sensitivity were commonly experienced. The two least common complaints were having difficulty finding and searching and experiencing a distorted image, but were nevertheless experienced by at least 10% of the patients.
Conclusions Visual complaints are very common among multiple sclerosis patients and a wide range of visual complaints is experienced. Recognition and knowledge of these visual complaints can facilitate high quality rehabilitation that can be specially designed for these patients.