Wickwar S, McBain H, Ezra DG, Hirani SP, Rose GE, Newman SP
Thyroid eye disease (TED) has been found to reduce quality of life for many patients because of changes in their appearance and vision, although some seem to adjust better than others. This study was designed to investigate whether a patient’s quality of life changes after having orbital decompression for improvement of appearance, vision, or both, and whether any demographic, clinical, or psychosocial factors can predict which patients might benefit from this surgery.
This study used a within-subjects repeated-measures design, in which patients were assessed before and at 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery.
A total of 123 adults (aged >18 years) with TED and undergoing orbital decompression surgery were recruited at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Participants received lateral wall, medial wall, 2.5 wall, or 3 wall decompression and were followed up after surgery with a range of psychosocial and clinical assessments.
Main Outcome Measures:
The Graves’ Ophthalmopathy Quality of Life (GO-QOL) scale was completed at each time point, and this was used as the dependent variable in each hierarchical multiple regression model.
Significant improvements were found in all clinical characteristics after orbital decompression and in most psychosocial variables. The GO-QOL visual function scores did not change significantly until 6 months after surgery. In contrast, GO-QOL appearance scores changed significantly by 6 weeks after surgery and continued to increase to 6 months, reaching a minimal clinically important difference for this scale. None of the changes in clinical or psychosocial outcomes significantly predicted change in GO-QOL visual function. However, the hierarchical regression model explained 79% of the variance in change in GO-QOL appearance, with change in subjective evaluation of appearance being the only unique predictor of change in appearance-related quality of life.
This study highlights the importance of appearance-related cognitions in predicting quality of life outcomes after surgery. Implications for clinical practice need to be considered in light of the limitations of this study, but it is suggested that psychosocial interventions targeting appearance-related cognitive processes, in particular personal evaluation of appearance, could enhance the quality of life outcomes for patients with TED undergoing orbital decompression surgery.
City University London, UK; Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK; East London Foundation Trust, UK; NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology, UK