Validation of the Leiden Visual Sensitivity Scale and Visual Discomfort Scale in Chronic Pain Conditions

Antonia F Ten Brink, Michael J Proulx, Janet H Bultitude

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Abstract

Discomfort provoked by normally innocuous visual stimuli has been reported by people with chronic pain. Visual discomfort may be higher in pain conditions in which central sensitization is implicated, such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and fibromyalgia. In an online study, we validated the Leiden Visual Sensitivity Scale (L-VISS) and Visual Discomfort Scale (VDS) in people with CRPS (n = 57), fibromyalgia (n = 75), and general chronic pain (n = 53); investigated whether these groups and pain-free controls (n = 125) differed in visual discomfort; and evaluated the effect of age. The L-VISS and VDS had good internal consistency. Both scales were positively related with experimentally induced visual distortions for mid-spatial frequency striped patterns, suggesting good construct validity. The scales were positively related with each other, and dissociated between the pain and pain-free groups in similar ways, suggesting good construct validity. There was no relationship between age and L-VISS scores and a small negative relationship between age and VDS scores. Visual discomfort was highest in the fibromyalgia group, followed by the CRPS group. This research confirms the utility of the L-VISS and VDS for measuring visual sensitivity in chronic pain and adds to evidence that central sensitization is an important mechanism of visual discomfort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-417
JournalPerception
Volume50
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

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