Migraines Significantly Reduce Visual Quality of Life

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Participants with episodic migraine had significantly lower vision-specific quality of life compared with healthy control patients.
Participants with episodic migraine had significantly lower vision-specific quality of life compared with healthy control patients.

Patients with migraine have a significant reduction in visual quality of life, according to results published in Headache. Visual quality-of-life impairments in patients with migraine can be as significant as impairments for patients with other common neuro-ophthalmic disorders.

The study included participants with chronic and episodic migraine and compared them with healthy control patients. The researchers assessed visual quality of life using the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (NEI-VFQ-25) and the 10-item NEI-VFQ-25 Neuro-Ophthalmic Supplement (NOS).

They assessed overall headache severity and impact using the Migraine-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 2.1 and the Headache Impact Test-6. The researchers compared participants with migraines with healthy control patients and with results from other neuro-ophthalmic disease quality-of-life studies.

Participants with chronic migraine (n=29) had significantly lower vision-specific quality of life compared with healthy control patients. The NEI-VFQ-25 median score for participants with chronic migraine was 85 compared with 96 for control patients (P <.001), and their NOS median scores were 72 and 95, respectively (P <.001).

Participants with episodic migraine (n=37) also had significantly lower vision-specific quality of life compared with healthy control patients. The NOS median score for participants with chronic migraine was 85 compared with 96 for control patients (P =.003). However, reductions in the NEI-VFQ-25 median score were not statistically significant for participants with episodic migraine compared with for control patients (median score, 91; P =.01).

Participants with chronic migraine has worse visual quality of life compared with participants with episodic migraine.

After comparing results with those of other quality-of-life studies, the researchers found that participants with chronic migraine had visual quality of life comparable to that of patients with other neuro-ophthalmic disorders, including multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and ischemic optic neuropathy.

"Further studies are needed to determine the specific cause of the decreased [visual quality of life] and to determine if there are opportunities for ophthalmic treatment that may help decrease headache severity and/or effect on quality of life," the researchers wrote.

Reference

Hanson LL, Ahmed Z, Katz BJ, et al. Patients with migraine have substantial reductions in measures of visual quality of life [published online June 7, 2018]. Headache. doi:10.1111/head.13330

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