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Sumir Pandit, Teresa Chen; Glaucoma Treatment: A Closer Look at Non-adherence. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4401.
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The health and economic impacts of non-adherence to glaucoma treatment are significant. If adherence were increased, even marginally, the occurrence of severe complications such as blindness may be reduced. This study aimed to understand which factors contribute to glaucoma patients’ failure to properly take their medication and elicit how these reasons can be remedied.
Patients from a single physician’s clinic, who had both a diagnosis of glaucoma and a prescription for one or more pressure-lowering eye drops, comprised the eligible population. These patients were recruited in the clinic waiting room where they took a 17 question written paper survey, which asked patients questions about their medication taking habits, their technology usage, and their preferred medication-reminder methods. Patients were recruited and surveyed one at a time, with the researcher available to answer any questions. Of those patients asked to participate, 81% completed the survey. In total, 99 patients completed surveys. Independent sample T tests were performed to find correlations between medication habits and adherence.
For the survey question, “Do you take your medicated eye drops at approximately the same time (within an hour) every day?” there was a statistically significant correlation (p= .04611), indicating that older patients tend to take their medication closer to the same time every day than do younger patients. Interestingly, a similar correlation between reported number of missed doses and age was NOT seen. According to the survey, those who take their medication within the same hour every day tend to use many medication-reminder methods - friends, family, and written notes - in addition to themselves to remember their medication (Figure 1). Meanwhile, those who take their medication less consistently during the day used fewer medication-reminder methods - mainly their spouses (Figure 2). At this time, there appears to be no statistically significant correlation between a patient’s “tech-savviness” and his/her self-reported level of adherence.
Patients who take their medications at consistently the same time every day used many medication-reminder methods compared to patients who take their medications less consistently. Better knowledge of the role of technology, reminders, and timing habits as they are related to adherence is integral to improving patient adherence - and thus health - overall.
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