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S.I. Ahmad, A. Rasheed, H. Quigley; Glaucoma Information on the Internet: A Meta–Analysis of Data Quality From Academic, Industry and Non Governmental Organization Websites . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):4419.
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To evaluate and compare the quality, the accuracy, and the readability of patient information concerning glaucoma on the Internet from websites of academic ophthalmology departments, pharmaceutical companies and non–governmental organizations (NGOs).
We evaluated the websites of the top 10 academic ophthalmology departments based on annual surveys in Ophthalmology Times and U.S. News and World Reports, pharmaceutical companies of the most commonly prescribed glaucoma medications, and relevant NGOs based on most popular search engine results (GoogleTM, YahooTM and MSNTM). In addition to readability of glaucoma information using the Flesch–Kincaid Scale, each website was evaluated whether it defined glaucoma as a disease of the optic nerve, implied that increased intraocular pressure (IOP) was synonymous with glaucoma, and whether the site mentioned other glaucoma risk factors. Each site was also evaluated for the presence of treatment options and patient oriented diagrams and/or pictures.
The NGOs had four of the best quality web sites; Glaucoma Australia – www.glaucoma.org.au, Glaucoma Research Foundation – www.glaucoma.org, The Glaucoma Foundation – www.glaucomafoundation.org, and American Health Association Foundation – www.ahaf.org/glaucoma/about/glabout.htm. No pharmaceutical sites and only one academic website (University of Michigan) had all desirable characteristics regarding glaucoma information but this information was at the12th grade reading level. Patients should be referred to the above NGO websites and efforts should be underway to improve the web content and readability of glaucoma information on the Internet.
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