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Purpose: The commonest type of glaucoma called chronic open angle glaucoma is a silent disease and patients are usually diagnosed late in the disease. Public awareness programs must be actively done to enable a reduction of late detection of the disease and level of awareness must be assessed regularly to appraise the programs. The aim of this study was to assess the level of awareness of the people following the several annual glaucoma week programs we held in the state.
Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was done in Osogbo local Government Area (LGA) over six months to assess the awareness of glaucoma following a five-year screening and public health education on glaucoma during the annual World glaucoma week in the state. The interviewer-assisted questionnaire was administered to 279 participants. Obtained data included demography such as age, sex, level of education, occupation, religion, state of origin, knowledge of glaucoma and its treatment, family history of glaucoma and so on.
The data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 21 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL). Descriptive statistics was used to analyze demographic data, and cross-tabulations with chi-square were used in comparing variables. Statistical significance was set at P<0.05.
Results: Two hundred and seventy-nine people were involved in the study. Many, 192 (68.8%) were aware of glaucoma. Thirty-nine participants (14.0%) had a family history of glaucoma and 63 (22.6%) felt the cause of glaucoma is an act of God. Two hundred and one (72.0%) had tertiary education. Tertiary education was found to be a statistically significant factor associated with glaucoma. Thirty-three (84.6%) of the 39 participants that had a positive family history of glaucoma were aware of glaucoma blindness. Out of participants that claimed to know how to treat glaucoma, eight (5.3%) felt it should be conservatively managed and nothing should be used.
Conclusion: The World glaucoma week has yielded results but more efforts must be put in place to increase awareness and knowledge of the populace on the nature of glaucoma. Tertiary education is an important factor in glaucoma awareness. The government must ensure everyone is educated up to tertiary level. Glaucoma patients and their acquaintances may be used in increasing awareness.
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