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Keywords:

  • glaucoma;
  • glaucoma treatment;
  • knowledge;
  • need for information;
  • expectations;
  • socioeconomic status

Abstract.

Purpose: To study the specific items for which socioeconomic differences in glaucoma patients' knowledge, need for information and expectations of treatments exist, with the aim of developing a patient education programme.

Methods: A total of 44 randomly selected ophthalmologists assigned 166 consecutive outpatient glaucoma patients to complete a questionnaire that had been systematically developed based on focus group interviews, suggestions from several experts and a pilot test. Topics included knowledge about glaucoma and its treatment, need for information and expectations of treatment. Educational level was used as a measure for socioeconomic status. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to adjust for age, sex and duration of glaucoma.

Results: After adjusting for age, sex and duration of glaucoma, knowledge of glaucoma and its treatment was found to be positively correlated with socioeconomic status. Items on knowledge with socioeconomic differences concerned risk factors, pathophysiology and consequences of glaucoma, as well as effects and adverse effects of treatments. The lowest socioeconomic group demonstrated more need for information on public assistance and practical aspects of glaucoma and more often expected that glaucoma damage could be repaired.

Conclusion: Important socioeconomic differences in knowledge, need for information and expectations of treatment exist in glaucoma patients. Patient education should focus on every glaucoma patient, but better information for the lower socioeconomic groups about specific items mentioned in this study might reduce the negative effects of low socioeconomic status on visual impairment.