Up to three-quarters of people have problems with their vision after a stroke. This can affect many aspects of their lives; for example, it may increase the risk of a stroke survivor having a fall, affect their confidence and lead to reduced independence. All of these factors can affect their quality of life, however, we don’t currently have a way to measure the impact that vision problems after stroke have on quality of life.
What is the research aiming to do?
This research will test a new questionnaire that has been designed to measure the impact that stroke-related vision problems have on a stroke survivor’s quality of life.
Dr Hepworth developed the questionnaire, the Brain Injury-related Visual Impairment Quality of Life questionnaire (BIVI-QoL), in partnership with stroke survivors and clinicians during her PhD. It is the first questionnaire that has been specifically designed to measure the effect that vision problems after stroke have on a stroke survivor’s quality of life.
How will the researchers do this?
Stroke survivors with vision problems will fill in the BIVI-QoL a number of times during the study. They will also complete other questionnaires that have previously been tested – the BIVI-QoL will be compared against these other questionnaires.
There are several parts to this research:
- Testing the BIVI-QoL to check that it gives a different result as a stroke survivor’s vision changes over time.
- Testing the BIVI-QoL to check that it gives the same result for stroke survivors whose vision problems are stable (i.e. not changing).
- Interviews with stroke survivors to understand more about the impact that vision problems have on their lives and their thoughts on the BIVI-QoL.
- Investigating whether a stroke survivor’s carer or family members could fill in the questionnaire on their behalf.
- Developing and testing a version of the BIVI-QoL that is suitable for people with aphasia (language and communication difficulties after stroke).
- Determining how the questionnaire could be introduced for use in everyday clinical practice and research.
Dr Hepworth will continue to work in partnership with stroke survivors and clinicians over the course of the study.
What difference could this research make?
It’s important to measure the impact of vision problems on stroke survivors’ quality of life. Having a way to do this will help in a number of ways:
- We will have a better understanding of how vision problems after stroke impact a person’s life. This could help to personalise patient care, and could support healthcare professionals to track changes in quality of life related to vision after stroke and intervene where necessary.
- It could act as a measure of how effective a new treatment for vision problems after stroke is in future research – for example, it will allow researchers to tell whether the treatment has an impact on people’s quality of life.
- It could help healthcare professionals and commissioners to make decisions about treatments, the services needed to support people with vision problems after stroke, and how best to offer this support.