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Gabor Hollo, Peter Kothy, Anita Garas, Anna Geczy; Non-population-based Glaucoma Screening Exercise in an Osteoporosis Patient Organization: Can Elderly Persons with Advanced Health Awareness Identify Their Risk for Glaucoma?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5046.
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Previously, in a non-population-based media pre-publicized glaucoma screening trial we found that prevalence of glaucoma among self-recruited participants was low, since several individuals participated on account of elevated health-anxiety, rather than because of higher risk for glaucoma. Now we investigated if osteoporosis patient organization members with advanced health awareness can identify their risk for glaucoma.
Members of an osteoporosis patient organization group were provided with structured written information on risk factors for glaucoma. Later, the participants completed questionnaires on their estimated risk for glaucoma (average vs. increased), demographics, trait anxiety (Trait Anxiety Inventory), health anxiety (Shortened Health Anxiety Inventory), and underwent a detailed evaluation for glaucoma.
The mean age of 114 self-recruited Caucasian attendees (107 females and 7 males) was 70.9 years (range: 41 to 88 years). The prevalence of glaucoma was 7.9%. Increase risk for glaucoma was indicated by 43 participants. No relationship was found between the participants’ response on the glaucoma risk assessment questionnaire and presence of glaucoma (Fisher’s exact test, p=0.725), various socio-demographic parameters (Chi square test, p>0.05 for all parameters), trait anxiety (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.178) or health anxiety (p=0.204). Higher education was associated with lower trait anxiety (Jonckheere-Terpstra test, p=0.029), need for more frequent medical visits with increased trait anxiety (p=0.007) and health anxiety (p=0.019), history of ocular symptoms or complaints with increased trait anxiety (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.032), higher confidence in successful treatment of glaucoma with lower trait anxiety (Jonckheere-Terpstra test, p=0.024) and health anxiety (p=0.022).
The results suggest that even when general health information and awareness training sessions are regularly given to elderly members of a non-glaucoma patient organization, self-assessment of risk for glaucoma may remain poor among the members, and poorer medical condition increases the individual anxiety level.
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