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aaron smith, Jennifer Oakley, Suzanne Hoadley, Erin Smith, Omolola Idowu; Glaucoma Awareness in Relatives of Patients Diagnosed with Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):3521.
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To evaluate the knowledge of the glaucoma disease process, risk factors, and interest in screening in first degree relatives of glaucoma patients seen at The University of Mississippi Medical Center glaucoma clinic.
A voluntary survey was offered to 100 persons accompanying clinic patients with a known diagnosis of glaucoma. Questions assessed their basic knowledge of the disease, risk factors, and if they had a diagnosis of glaucoma or had ever been screened. All volunteers were then provided with information regarding glaucoma and offered free screening.
Among 100 persons surveyed, with 52 being first-degree relatives, there was a strong understanding that glaucoma led to blindness (84.6% relatives) and that if diagnosed early and treated, blindness could be prevented (88% relatives). 71% of first-degree relatives knew that lowering intraocular pressure treated glaucoma. While first-degree relatives understood that glaucoma led to blindness, only half of first-degree relatives understood the family link of glaucoma (53%). Out of these 53% of first-degree relatives that knew there was a hereditary link, 60% of them had never been screened showing a disregard for the risk of blindness. Only 30% of first-degree relatives had been told they should be screened for glaucoma, with most being told by an eye doctor (96%). Surprisingly, 0% of first-degree relatives were told by their family member who had glaucoma.
Family and friends of patients with glaucoma have good basic knowledge but lack an understanding of their risk for glaucoma. The family members that do understand their risk are still not being screened regardless of understanding that it can cause blindness. Eye doctors are doing a good job of telling family members of their patients to get screened when they have the opportunity. Glaucoma patients are not adequately notifying their family of their risk and are not telling them to get screened. Glaucoma patients were not questioned in this study and therefore we cannot comment on the reason for this deficiency, but this pitfall deserves further investigation.
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