Glaucoma is a chronic and serious disease calling for consistent lifelong therapy. The patient’s compliance requires that he/she be well informed about the disease. The purpose of the present study was to determine the level of knowledge about glaucoma, and compare young patients with older ones as well as glaucoma patients with nonglaucoma ones.
A total of 1110 questionnaires were distributed to patients and their relatives at the outpatient eye clinic of Hietzing Hospital (Vienna), of which 1041 were returned. The questionnaire comprised 18 questions. Patients were divided into two groups: group 1 consisted of those aged 18–60 years, while group 2 consisted of those older than 61 years.
In total, 941 questionnaires were evaluated; 72.8 % of the respondents were older than 60 years, and one-half of the respondents had glaucoma (51 %). The majority of patients had “moderate knowledge” of the disease (41.87 %), followed by “poor knowledge” (32.52 %). Glaucoma patients had considerably better knowledge of the disease (p < 0.01) than did nonglaucoma patients. Younger patients were significantly better informed than older ones (p < 0.01). Nonglaucoma patients with a positive diagnosis of glaucoma among their circle of friends or family were significantly better informed (p < 0.01) than those without such persons in their circle of friends.
Persons with glaucoma are much better informed about the disease than nonglaucoma patients, but the general level of knowledge is very low. Notably, younger patients were better informed than older ones. The present study, comprising a large number of patients, revealed poor knowledge of glaucoma among patients with the disease and especially among nonglaucoma patients in Vienna.