Knowledge and Awareness of Glaucoma among Population of Western Saudi Arabia, Taif City

Background: Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible visual loss worldwide. In Saudi Arabia, it accounts for blindness in 3% of the population above the age of 40 years. Moreover, Hospital-based observations and studies acknowledge the distribution of various subtypes of glaucoma in the kingdom. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of studies which designed to assess general population level of awareness regarding glaucoma in Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to assess general population knowledge and level of awareness in the western region of Saudi Arabia, Taif city.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in a public place in Taif City, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the glaucoma awareness week in 2018.  A total of 409 respondents participated and completed the study questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for data analysis, where descriptive data was expressed as numbers and percentages, and the Chi-square (χ2) test was applied to test the relationship between variables. Quantitative data was expressed as mean and standard deviation (Mean ± SD), and Mann-Whitney (U) test was applied to compare medians for groups not normally distributed. A p-value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Of the 409 interviewees participated, 62% were females with a mean age of (26 ±13) years, where the majority of males and females participants had a secondary school education (40% and 42% respectively). Most of the male and female respondents have heard of glaucoma before (63.1% and 61.1 respectively). Male participants defined glaucoma as a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness (41.1%), while the majority of females defined glaucoma as a slow drainage of fluid within the eye which causes fluid to build up leading to increased intraocular pressure within the eye (39%). Male participants ranked family members as the primary sources of information about glaucoma (41%) followed by medical campaigns (24.2%), while female respondent’s ranked medical campaigns as the primary source of information (34.1%), followed by family members (33%). Female respondents in this study showed a high level of awareness concerning glaucoma disease compared to male respondents. 

Conclusion: While there is relatively good awareness level among the population in Taif city, further studies in different regions of the country on different population sectors are needed to assess knowledge and awareness level for a better understanding of the population’s age distribution, demographic differences regarding glaucoma awareness.

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