Quality of Life Measures for the Visually Impaired: Sub-Sahara Africa

  • A. Leplege
  • J.-F. Schemann
Reference work entry


Although blindness and low vision affects only indirectly the length of life it affects considerably the quality of life. Therefore the assessment of the burden of disease related to blindness and vision impairment need to take into account the impact of these diseases in terms of quality of life. With the exception of the Aravind Eye questionnaire developed in India and adapted for the Malian population and the IOTAQOL developed in Mali, all the quality of life measures concerning visual impairment were developed in the industrial countries (mostly in the USA). Only three papers address the methodological issues related to the development and use of standardized quality of life survey in sub-Sahara Africa and only four papers report Quality of Life studies that were run in Africa. These papers have demonstrated that it was possible to develop an instrument (the IOTAQOL) that make it possible to measure, with sufficient precision, the outcome of care and the consequences of visual impairment from the subjects point of view. Several studies illustrate the fact that, such measures can provide valid and interesting information for health service or clinical research, even if the external validity of these results can be questioned. However, one should underline the dramatic lack of research and good quality studies in the area of the assessment of the quality of life related to visual impairment in sub-Saharan Africa and it is clear that one cannot but conclude the urgent need for more, and better, research in this area.


Visual Acuity Visual Impairment Cataract Surgery Blind Person Impaired Person 
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List of Abbreviations:


European quality of life questionnaire or EuroQOL generic health index


human immuno-deficiency virus/acquired immuno deficit syndrome


Institut d’Ophtalmologie Tropicale de l’Afrique, Bamko, Mali


a 26 item questionnaire developed at IOTA for measuring the quality of life of people with visual impairment in sub-Sahara Africa


World Health Organization


World Health Organization quality of life questionnaire (A 26 item generic questionnaire developed by WHO


World Health Organization prevention of blindness and deafness 20-item visual functioning questionnaire


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Leplege
    • 1
  • J.-F. Schemann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and History of Sciences and REHSEISUniversity Paris DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.University Victor Ségalen – Bordeaux 2 (Centre René Labusquière and EA 3677)BordeauxFrance

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