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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-77

Patients' knowledge of glaucoma and treatment options


Guinness Eye Center, Onitsha, Nigeria

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SNN Nwosu
Guinness Eye Center, Onitsha
Nigeria
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Aims: To determine among glaucoma patients their knowledge of the disease; consequences; available treatment and their preferred treatment options Materials and Methods: Interviewer- administered pre-tested questionnaire was administered to consecutive glaucoma patients at the Guinness Eye Center Onitsha in June and July 2004. Results: Fifty- two patients aged 16 - 85 years who had glaucoma and had been on treatment for 6 months - 8 years were interviewed. 43 (82.7%) patients had primary school or higher education. Ten (19.2%) patients did not have any knowledge of glaucoma; only 41 (78.9%) patients were aware that glaucoma leads to irreversible blindness. There was no significant association between disease knowledge and (1) age (OR 0.8; 95%CI: 0.24, -0.20; p>0.05); (2) gender (OR 0.3; 95%CI: 0.42, -0.02; p>0.05); (3) disease duration (OR 0.35; 95%CI: 0.51, -0.07; p>0.05). Patients with at least primary school education were more likely to have knowledge of the disease than those without formal education (OR 6.3; 95%CI: 0.05, 0.75; p<0.05). But there was no significant difference in disease knowledge between patients with post primary or higher education and those with primary school or less formal education (OR 0.3; 95%CI: 0, 0.4; p>0.05). While 32 (61.5%) patients knew of surgery and or drug treatment, 31 (59.6%) would preferred drug treatment and 12 (23.1%) would accept any treatment option the doctor considered most effective. Religious belief and cultural practice would affect the choice of treatment in 5 (9.6%) and 7 (13.5%) patients respectively. Conclusions: The level of disease knowledge among glaucoma patients is low. This has negative implication for compliance with treatment of glaucoma. Persons without formal education are at the greatest risk. With 23.1% of the patients surrendering the choice of treatment to the doctor, ophthalmologists are challenged to always educate the patients on the nature and consequences of glaucoma while prescribing the most effective mode of therapy.


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