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Elizabeth Esparaz, Manishi Desai; Patient Knowledge Regarding Genetics As A Risk Factor For Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):3679.
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Genetics has been identified as a key risk factor in the development of glaucoma, and screening of family members is paramount to early detection of disease. However, there are no clinical studies that have investigated whether patients actually advise their family members to be screened for glaucoma. We performed a prospective clinical study and utilized a survey to evaluate our glaucoma patient population’s understanding of family history as a risk factor for glaucoma. We hypothesize that the majority of our patients do not realize that glaucoma is hereditary and that they will not have previously advised their family members to be screened for glaucoma.
With IRB approval, we administered a survey to 50 of our patients who are routinely followed in the glaucoma clinic. We included patients who were over the age of 18 years and had been previously diagnosed with glaucoma or were suspected to have glaucoma. The primary outcome was whether or not these patients had advised their family members to be screened for glaucoma. We also assessed whether or not patients knew that glaucoma is hereditary, and likewise if they knew if any other blood-related relatives had been diagnosed with glaucoma previously.
Of the patients we surveyed, 35% were > age of 70, 35% were Haitian and 76% had a high-school diploma. 38% knew if they had a family member with glaucoma and 54% did not know that glaucoma is hereditary. Moreover, only 38% advised their family members to be screened for glaucoma. Those who had advised family members to be screened were also more often aware if other blood-related relatives had been previously diagnosed with glaucoma.
The results support our hypotheses, demonstrating that the majority of our patients are not aware that glaucoma is hereditary and therefore most have not advised their family members to be screened for glaucoma. This brings to light a gap in patient knowledge that could be improved through patient education and expanded to promote early preventive strategies.
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