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The psychosocial and clinical outcomes following orbital decompression surgery for thyroid eye disease and predictors of change in quality of life

Wickwar, S., McBain, H. B., Ezra, D. G. , Hirani, S. P., Rose, G. E. & Newman, S. P. (2015). The psychosocial and clinical outcomes following orbital decompression surgery for thyroid eye disease and predictors of change in quality of life. Ophthalmology, 122(12), pp. 2568-2576. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.08.030


Objective: Thyroid eye disease (TED) has been found to reduce quality of life for many patients due to changes in their appearance and vision, although some appear 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.

Design: This study employed a within-subjects repeated measures design, where patients were assessed before, and at 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery.

Subjects: One hundred and twenty-three adults (>18 years) with TED and undergoing orbital decompression surgery were recruited at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Methods: Participants received lateral wall, medial wall, 2.5 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.

Results: Significant improvements were found in all clinical characteristics following orbital decompression and in most psychosocial variables. 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
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