Glaucoma misconceptions common among patients

March 14, 2008

Patients with established glaucoma have only slightly greater knowledge of their condition than patients who are newly diagnosed.

Patients with established glaucoma have only slightly greater knowledge of their condition than patients who are newly diagnosed, according to a report published in the January/February issue of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology.

Helen Danesh-Meyer and colleagues from Greenelane Clinical Centre, Auckland, the Southern Eye Specialists, Christchurch and the University of Auckland, New Zealand recruited 208 glaucoma patients, 100 newly diagnosed glaucoma patients and 100 controls. Each subject completed a validated self-administered true/false questionnaire assessing glaucoma knowledge.

Established glaucoma patients had marginally but significantly (p<0.05) greater glaucoma knowledge scores than new patients. Both groups scored significantly better than the control population. Significant misconceptions regarding glaucoma include: 80% of all participants thought that topical medications could not have systemic side-effects and 48% of established glaucoma patients believed that symptoms would warn them of disease progression. One-third of new patients considered blindness to be a common outcome of glaucoma.

Glaucoma patients are likely to harbour significant misconceptions about the disease. As such, the authors of this report believe that educational materials should be tailored to address this issue.