Patient education would aid compliance

March 31, 2007

To help improve compliance, patients should be made aware of what a normal intraocular pressure (IOP) is and be informed of their own at each visit to their ophthalmologist, according to Rohit Arora and colleagues from the North Middlesex Hospital, UK.

To help improve compliance, patients should be made aware of what a normal intraocular pressure (IOP) is and be informed of their own at each visit to their ophthalmologist, according to Rohit Arora and colleagues from the North Middlesex Hospital, UK.

In their study, a structured questionnaire was completed by 100 patients attending a glaucoma clinic with chronic open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Questions related to field defects, IOP, treatment and compliance. Their aim was to test patients' knowledge of the condition and therapy and to relate this to treatment compliance.

The investigators found that 13% of patients were unaware that they had glaucoma, however, 87% were aware that the disease has a very serious effect on vision. Forty-seven percent were able to accurately remember the name of their drops, 30% had an appropriate idea but 23% had no idea.

In terms of compliance, 18% depended on family members for the drops, 53% claimed full compliance, 14% admitted to forgetting their drops once in every 15 days, 14% would forget once a month and 20% would forget once in every six months. The main causes of non-compliance were holidays and general forgetfulness.

A significant number, 87%, had no idea about their own IOP and about the pressure range of a normal eye, whilst 80% did not understand the technique or relevance of the field tests. Sixty-four percent were unaware of alternative treatment options and 73% did not know of the existence of helplines and societies.

The team concluded from the study that patients needed to be further educated about the nature of their disease as this would serve to enhance compliance.