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Awareness and Knowledge of Glaucoma Among General Medical Outpatients in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital Uyo Experience

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Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Awareness and knowledge about this blinding disease will increase the uptake of screening services. The aim of this research was to determine the level of awareness of glaucoma by general outpatient attendees and also their knowledge of the disease. This was a cross-sectional study of consenting patients attending the general medical outpatient between February and July 2016 using a semi- structured interviewer administered questionnaire to collect data on demographics (including education), awareness and knowledge of glaucoma. Of the 255 that responded to the questionnaire, 116(45.5%) were males and 138(54.5%) were females; age range 17-79 years (42.31±16.84). Twelve (4.7) had no formal education, 29(11.4) had primary education only, 17(6.7%) had junior secondary school only, 70(27.5) had senior secondary school only, while 127(49.8%) had tertiary education. Sources of information were hospital and mass media 43(35.0%) each.One hundred and twenty three(48.2%) had heard about glaucoma while 132(51.5%) gave a ’no’ response. Eighty eight (34.5%) knew that glaucoma was an eye disease but only 1(0.4%) related it to the nerve and 3(1.2%) said it was caused by raised intraocular pressure while 40(18.0%) said it can be inherited. Sixteen (6.3%) said that loss of field of view was a sign of glaucoma. Ninety (35.3%) said that glaucoma can be treated. Only 21(8.2%) had ever had eye screening and 194(75%) of those who had not done eye screening had no reason for not doing. Knowledge of glaucoma in this population is very low. Health education through use of different media of information should be adopted.

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