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Meidong Zhu, Adil Syed, Nichole Diane Lucy Joachim, Kehui Luo, Con Petsoglou, Andrew Alexander Chang; EVALUATION OF A DIRECT APPROACH TO EYE DONATION IN A POPULATION WITH RETINAL DISEASES. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):681.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We previously reported an increase in consent rate from 65% to over 80% after appropriate education of elderly patients with known age-related macular degeneration (AMD) about their suitability to eye donation (ARVO abstract #4411, 2013). This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of direct counselling in recruiting prospective eye donors in a tertiary retinal clinic.
31 AMD patients underwent a 15 minute face to face counselling session with a retinal clinician, where eye donation for corneal transplantation and scientific research into AMD were discussed. Patient’s awareness and attitudes towards eye donation were evaluated and compared using a two-part questionnaire with one part administered before and another after the direct counselling session. Changes in patients’ responses and appropriateness of the counselling were analysed and discussed.
58% (n=18) patients reported awareness that their eye tissue could be donated. Only 26% (n=8) had registered for donation and 19% (n=6) had discussed this with their family. Common reasons cited for not having registered for donation included “The topic had never come up” (39%, n=12), “My eyes are not good enough to donate” (29%, n=9) and “I didn’t know how to register” (16%, n=5). Incidence of eye donation conflicting with familial (n=2) or religious belief (n=1) was low. After the counselling, 68% (n=21) reported a greater interest in, 26% (n=8) were unchanged and 6% (n=2) showed less interested in eye donation. Overall, 84% (n=26) of patients went on to seriously consider eye donation, with the most common reasons cited as “my eyes could help scientists learn about AMD” and “my donation may help future generations” (42%, n=13, respectively), followed by “I would like to make a contribution to science/medicine” (32%, n=10) and “my donation could help someone else” (29%, n=9). There were no significant differences in age (p=0.8) or visual acuity (p=1.0) between those who finally considered eye donation seriously to those that did not. 97% of the patients (n=30) believed a direct approach was appropriate.
A direct counselling approach improves the awareness of and attitude to future eye donation in patients with AMD. This method should be considered in all eye clinics to educate eye patients and their next of kin towards eye donation.
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