Awareness of and attitude towards glaucoma among an adult rural population of Osun State, Southwest Nigeria
Michaeline A Isawumi1, Mustapha B Hassan1, Patience O Akinwusi2, Olalekan W Adebimpe3, Esther O Asekun-Olarinmoye3, Alebiosu C Christopher2, Taiwo A Adewole4
1 Department of Surgery, Ophthalmology Unit, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Oke-Baale, Osogbo, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Oke-Baale, Osogbo, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Oke-Baale, Osogbo, Nigeria
4 Department of Biochemistry, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Oke-Baale, Osogbo, Nigeria
Michaeline A Isawumi
Department of Surgery, Ophthalmology Unit, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University. PMB 4494, Osogbo Osun State
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Purpose: To obtain baseline data and assess the level of awareness and attitudes towards glaucoma among rural communities of Osun State, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This was a community-based study that involved interviews and descriptive cross-sectional analysis. Serial-recruitment was performed of consenting participants who presented at a community-based screening service in March 2011. Socio-demographic data and information about glaucoma were obtained through face-to-face semi-structured questionnaires.
Results: The study population comprised 259 respondents (mean age 49.73 ± 16.6 years; range 18 to 90 years). There were 159 females (61.4%). Skilled workers were the most common 130/259 (50.3%) participants. Only 41 (15.8%; 95% CI: 11.4-20.2) participants had ever heard of glaucoma. Sources of information were from visits to an eye clinic for 21/41 (51.2%; 95% CI: 35.9-66.5) participants and 15/41 (36.6%) participants who know someone with glaucoma. Reponses to the causes of glaucoma included 20/41 (48.8%; 33.5-64.1) participant who said 'I don't know' and 24.4% of participants who responded 'curse-from-God'. Responses to questions on treatment included 20/41 (48.8%) participants who responded 'I don't know how it can be treated' and 10/41 (36.6%) said 'medically'. Thirty 30/41 (73.2%) participants would refuse surgery, half of them because 'it cannot cure or reverse the disease' while (26.7%) would refuse out of 'fear'. Only 8/41 (19.5%; 95% CI: 7.4-31.6) would accept surgery for maintenance. Statistically significant predictors of glaucoma awareness were older participants, males and skilled workers (teachers) (P = 0.028, P = 0.018, P = 0.0001, respectively).
Conclusions: The outcomes of study indicate a low level of awareness of glaucoma. Health education at all levels of health and eye care services is required to prevent ocular morbidity and irreversible blindness from glaucoma.