Existing patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for optic neuritis in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and other disorders may not be sufficient, according to a study recently published in Eye.

“There is unmet need for a PROM with strong content and psychometric development applicable to optic neuritis for use in virtual care pathways and clinical trials to support drug marketing authorization,” the authors wrote.

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This literature review included 3142 abstracts that related to different PROM tools that could be useful for assessing patients with optic neuritis. These instruments were the National Eye Institute (NEI)-Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ) in its 3 different variations, including the 51-item VFQ, 25-item VFQ, and 10-item neuroophthalmology supplement, as well as the Impact of Visual Impairment Scale (IVIS), which is a component of the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory (MSQLI) handbook. Notably, the MSQLI is based on the Functional Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis (FAMS).

Of all tools, only the NEI-VFQ-51 and the 10-item neuro module included content development items that could potentially assess optic neuritis. Regardless, the psychometric development portion of these tests was rather weak.

Conversely, according to a Rasch analysis, the FAMS instrument exhibited better psychometric development but still lacked complete relevance for diseases with optic neuritis, such as NMOSD.

Finally, the IVIS did not demonstrate optimal psychometric or content development.

These results highlight the urgent need to develop an accurate PROM oriented toward patients with optic neuritis. PROMs allow researchers and clinicians to obtain better insight into the management of patients with certain diseases, including the effects and benefits of treatment strategies.

“Given the time and cost taken to develop a new PROM, and the increasingly important role for PROMs both in clinical trials and the modern health service, further research is needed to identify novel ways to reduce the multiple barriers to their development and wider generalizability,” the authors concluded.


Panthagani J, O’Donovan C, Aiyegbusi OL, et al. Evaluating patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for future clinical trials in adult patients with optic neuritis. Eye (Lond). Published online March 17, 2023. doi:10.1038/s41433-023-02478-z