PURPOSE. Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is an inherited mitochondrial optic neuropathy characterized by bilateral, severe loss of central vision. In this study, the first formal assessment was conducted of visual disability in affected and unaffected individuals from molecularly confirmed LHON pedigrees. METHODS. Four hundred two LHON carriers-196 affected and 206 unaffected-from 125 genealogically distinct pedigrees were prospectively interviewed using the well-validated visual function index (VF-14) questionnaire: m.3460G>A (n = 71), m.11778G>A (n = 270), and m.14484T>C (n = 61). RESULTS. The mean age of onset of visual loss was 27.9 years (SD, 14.9) and mean disease duration was 15.5 years (SD, 15.4), with 74.5% of the affected subjects being men. The mean VF-14 score was 25.1 (SD, 20.8) in the affected patients, compared with 97.3 (SD, 7.1) in the unaffected carriers. Within the affected group, VF-14 score did not worsen with increasing disease duration and individuals with the m.14484T>C mutation had higher VF-14 scores compared with those in the m.3460G>A and m.11778G>A groups. Reading small print and reading a newspaper or book were the two VF-14 items that presented the greatest difficulty. CONCLUSIONS. LHON has a severe negative impact on quality of life and has the worst VF-14 score when compared with other previously studied ophthalmic disorders. However, affected LHON carriers can be reassured that their level of visual impairment is unlikely to progress with time. The VF-14 questionnaire will be a useful tool for assessing the natural history of LHON and measuring outcome in future treatment trials.

dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.08-3166, hdl.handle.net/1765/25299
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kirkman, M.A, Korsten, A, Leonhardt, M, Dimitriadis, K, de Coo, I.F.M, Klopstock, T, … Yu-Wai-Man, P. (2009). Quality of life in patients with leber hereditary optic neuropathy. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 50(7), 3112–3115. doi:10.1167/iovs.08-3166