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This review article considers the rising demand for patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in modern ophthalmic research and clinical practice. We review what PROMs are, how they are developed and chosen for use, and how their quality can be critically appraised. We outline the progress made to develop PROMs in each clinical subspecialty. We highlight recent examples of the use of PROMs as secondary outcome measures in randomized controlled clinical trials and consider the impact they have had. With increasing interest in using PROMs as primary outcome measures, particularly where interventions have been found to be of equivalent efficacy by traditional outcome metrics, we highlight the importance of instrument precision in permitting smaller sample sizes to be recruited. Our review finds that while there has been considerable progress in PROM development, particularly in cataract, glaucoma, medical retina, and low vision, there is a paucity of useful tools for less common ophthalmic conditions. Development and validation of item banks, administered using computer adaptive testing, has been proposed as a solution to overcome many of the traditional limitations of PROMs, but further work will be needed to examine their acceptability to patients, clinicians, and investigators.

Original publication




Journal article


Patient Relat Outcome Meas

Publication Date





9 - 24


Rasch analysis, eye disease, patient-reported outcome measures, randomized controlled trials