Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate quality of life and participation in children aged 3 to 17 years with visual impairment (VI) compared to reference groups and between subgroups with increasing severity levels of VI.
Methods: Parents of children aged 3 to 17 years (n = 500) and children aged 13 to 17 years (n = 75) completed the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP). Children aged 7 to 17 years (n = 263) and their parents (n = 255) completed the KIDSCREEN-27 questionnaire to assess quality of life. Scores were compared to age and/or gender-appropriate population-based samples. For the CASP, a comparison was also made with children with chronic conditions or disabilities. The association between severity of VI and quality of life or participation was analyzed with linear regression models.
Results: Children reported significantly worse on Physical Wellbeing and Social Support & Peers, but better on the School Environment KIDSCREEN-27 subscales compared to reference groups. Parents additionally reported worse on Autonomy & Parent Relation. Children's participation was significantly worse compared to a population-based sample, but significantly better compared to children with chronic conditions and disabilities. Having moderate or severe VI/blindness was significantly associated with worse participation, as reported by parents relative to those with no VI.
Conclusions: Quality of life of children with VI is affected especially regarding Physical Wellbeing and Social Support & Peers compared to a reference population, and their participation is considerably worse. Participation was more affected in children with more severe VI. These results contribute to the understanding of the impact of VI. Interventions targeting physical health, social skills, and participation are warranted.