29 July 2015
Introduction: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited retinal disorder, characterized by photoreceptor degeneration inducing progressive vision loss. This study evaluates its impact on quality of life (QOL) and emotional states of patients affected by RP. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 60 RP patients diagnosed with rod-cone dystrophy and on 20 control subjects. The RP population has been divided into 3 groups according to visual field (VF) and visual acuity (VA) impairments. Concurrently, scores of self-reported QOL (25-item National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire) and of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for anxiety/depression assessments were collected. Results: For the QOL composite score, we noticed consistent differences between all VF and VA affected groups and their control group. We also found significant differences between both the most affected VF group (VF1: ØVF <20°) and VA group (VA1: VA <0.3) compared to other VF and VA groups. For anxiety/depression scores, consistent differences have been found between the control group and VF1 and VA1, respectively. Conclusions: This work determines that, for RP patients, a significant QOL and emotional state deterioration correlates with a residual VF diameter below 20° and a VA lower than 0.3. It introduces, for the first time, thresholds to be used in visual restoration or visual preservation therapies to improve QOL of RP patients.