The purpose of this study was to assess visual and health-related quality of life (QOL) among U.S. military service members who sustained combat ocular trauma (COT) with or without associated traumatic brain injury (TBI).
This was a single-center, prospective observational study of U.S. service members (n = 88) with COT who were treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Participants completed the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) at enrollment and at follow-up (>1 year) and supplemental surveys: Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory, the Medical Outcomes 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36), and Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory.
Initial and follow-up VFQ-25 showed a statistically significant increase in median scores for near activities (initial: 75.0, follow-up 83.3; P = .004) and peripheral vision (initial: 50.0, follow-up: 75.0; P = .009) and in composite scores (initial: 79.5, follow-up: 79.8; P = .022). Comparing those who did (n = 78) and did not (n = 8) have a TBI history, there were no significant differences in median change in VFQ-25 composite scores (with TBI: 2.3 vs. no TBI: 10.7; P = .179). Participants with a TBI history had a significantly lower median SF-36 General Health score (with TBI: 67.5 vs. no TBI: 92.5; P = .009).
Vision-related QOL of COT patients is generally good in the long term. However, those with both COT and a history of TBI conditions showed significantly worse functioning in several domains than those without TBI. As TBI is a common finding in COT, this association is an important factor impacting this population’s overall clinical presentation and daily functions.

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