• Quality of Life, Mental Health, and Employment Among Young Adults With RP

    By Lynda Seminara and selected by Richard K. Parrish II, MD

    Journal Highlights

    American Journal of Ophthalmology, May 2017

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    Chaumet-Riffaud et al. examined the impact of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) on young adults. In contrast to previous studies, the authors found that education levels and employment rates are comparable to those of the general population of young adults, which was represented by age-paired statistical data in this study.

    The cross-sectional study included 148 patients (mean age, 38.2 years) with RP residing in France. Quality of life was assessed using the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire. Mental state was rated on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and employment information was obtained with a tailored questionnaire.

    Of the RP patients, 48% were legally blind, nearly 30% had low vision, and approximately 22% had mild visual impairment. Quality-of-life scores correlated with the radius of residual visual field (p < .0001). Mental health scores indicated that 36.5% experienced anxiety, and 15.5% were depressed. Rates were not higher for patients with more severe visual disability.

    Although the proportion of subjects with higher education (at least 2 years of college) tended to decline with increasing disability, the differences were not statistically significant. Among blind patients, 56.3% achieved this level of education, compared with 42.3% of the sighted age-paired group.

    The employment rate decreased with declining visual function, but not significantly. At baseline, the employment rate was 67.6% for the blind patients, 79.5% for those with low vision, and 80.2% for the sighted group. All patients had worked at least 12 consecutive months in the preceding 5 years, except for 3 blind patients who had never worked. The employment rate was significantly higher for patients with more education and lower for patients with depression.

    In conclusion, the authors’ findings differ from those showing relatively low levels of education and employment for young adults with RP. Studies with matched sighted controls and larger populations are needed to better understand the relationship between RP and mental health, education, and employment, as well as the impact of employment aids and workplace conditions on young adults with RP.

    The original article can be found here.