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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 132-135

Awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among hospital workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City


Department of Ophthalmology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication11-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Vivian Bose Osaguona
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 1111, Benin City, Edo State
Nigeria
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DOI: 10.4103/1118-8561.146816

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  Abstract 

Background: Glaucoma is a disease of public health importance. We assessed the level of awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This is cross-sectional study of hospital workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Data on demographics, awareness and knowledge of glaucoma was gathered through structured self-administered questionnaires to a random sample of workers. Statistical analyses were performed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences 16 (SPSS Inc. 2007. SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago) software. Chi-square test was used to assess for any statistically significant difference in the social demographic factors such as age, gender, staff category, education, and duration of employment in the hospital and awareness of glaucoma. The level of knowledge among the staff categories was also compared using the Chi-square test. Statistical significance was taken as P < 0.05. Results: There were a total of 226 respondents. 93 (41.2%) were in the age group of 21-30 years. 111 (49.1%) were males. 168 (74.3%) were aware of glaucoma. Awareness of glaucoma was higher among the paramedical staff and among workers with a higher education (P < 0.001). The knowledge of glaucoma was good among 31% of those who were aware of glaucoma, fair in 31.5% and poor in 37.8%. Conclusions: There is a need to educate hospital workers on glaucoma in order to raise awareness and increase their level of knowledge such that blindness prevention from glaucoma may be possible from early diagnosis and prompt treatment in these workers, their relatives, and contacts.

Keywords: Awareness, glaucoma, hospital workers, knowledge, Nigeria


How to cite this article:
Osaguona VB, Edema OT. Awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among hospital workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Sahel Med J 2014;17:132-5

How to cite this URL:
Osaguona VB, Edema OT. Awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among hospital workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Sahel Med J [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Oct 18];17:132-5. Available from: http://www.smjonline.org/text.asp?2014/17/4/132/146816


  Introduction Top


Glaucoma is a cause of visual impairment. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Globally, it is the second leading cause of blindness after cataract; [1] and the leading cause of irreversible blindness. [2]

Primary open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of glaucoma in West-Africa, [6],[7],[8] is asymptomatic in its early stages and more serious in blacks. [9] Lack of awareness is a major risk factor for late presentation of glaucoma. [10]

In Nigeria, neighbors seek the hospital workers' opinion on health-related issues. The aim of this study is to assess the level of awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among workers in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria.


  Materials and Methods Top


This is a cross-sectional study of hospital workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria, a tertiary institution, located in an urban area of Nigeria that provides specialist medical services including ophthalmic services. Ethical approval was given by the Ethics and Research Committee of the Hospital.

Data on demographics, awareness and knowledge of glaucoma was gathered through structured self-administered questionnaires given to a randomly sampled number of workers who were on seat and consented to the study in the major departments in the hospital, which included Accounts, Personnel, Laundry, Security, Pharmacy, Radiology, and Laboratory services. The respondents were required to fill the questionnaires as they were being given. Physicians and nurses were excluded from the study.

The questionnaires had a section for demographics. Awareness of glaucoma was assessed with the close-ended question: Have you heard of glaucoma? The source of information on glaucoma was obtained through close-ended questions with a list of possible responses. Only those who were aware of glaucoma were required to complete the next section on knowledge of glaucoma. Knowledge assessed included etiology, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of glaucoma. Only fully completed questionnaires were included in the analysis.

The hospital workers were classified into three groups: Paramedical staff group (pharmacists, radiographers, and laboratory scientists), nonmedical administrative staff group and domestic/security staff group.

Respondents were scored +1 for every correct 'yes'/'no' response and −1 for every incorrect answer in the section on knowledge. The total percentage score on knowledge for each respondent was determined and a score of 70% and above was regarded as good, 50-69% fair and less than 50% poor. Statistical analyses were performed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences 16 (SPSS Inc. 2007. SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago) software. Chi-square test was used to assess for any statistically significant difference in the social demographic factors such as age, gender, staff category, and education, duration of employment in the hospital, and awareness of glaucoma. The level of knowledge among the staff categories was compared using the Chi-square test. A P < 0.05 was taken to be statistically significant.


  Results Top


A total of 302 questionnaires were distributed to the hospital workers, out of which 226 questionnaires were completely filled, giving a response rate of 74.8%.

111 (49.1%) respondents were males while 115 (50.9%) were females, with a male to female ratio of 1:1.04. 93 (41.2%) were in the age group of 21-30 years. Majority of the respondents 141 (62.4%) had tertiary education. [Table 1] shows the socio demographic characteristics of the respondents.
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of respondents


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168 (74.3%) of the respondents were aware of glaucoma. Awareness of glaucoma was higher among the paramedical staff and among the respondents with higher education (P < 0.001) [Table 2]. The most common source of information on glaucoma was from a doctor or nurse [Figure 1]. 4 (2.4%) of those who were aware of glaucoma had previously been diagnosed with glaucoma but only 2 (50%) of them were on treatment. 108 respondents (64.3%) had never had an eye examination. Some responses to the definition of glaucoma included: "An eye disease," "increased intraocular pressure," "intraocular pressure higher than normal resulting in gradual loss of vision," "increased intraocular pressure, which leads to hypertension, if not treated in time can damage the optic nerves."
Figure 1: Sources of information on glaucoma

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Table 2: Awareness of glaucoma by sociodemographic characteristics of respondents


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The knowledge of glaucoma was good among 31%, fair in 31.5% and poor in 37.8% of those who were aware of glaucoma. The knowledge of glaucoma was best among the paramedical staff and worst in the domestic and security staff (P < 0.001).

Only 18.5% of the respondents who were aware knew glaucoma could be asymptomatic. 95 workers (56.5%) responded that glaucoma was curable.


  Discussion Top


Awareness of glaucoma in developing countries has been reported to be poor both in community - based studies and among patients attending hospital or eye camps. [10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17] On the contrary, however, studies in the United Kingdom [18],[19] and the United States [20] have reported the awareness of glaucoma to be good.

To the best of our knowledge, few studies have been done on the awareness and knowledge of glaucoma among hospital workers. [21],[22],[23] Adegbehingbe and Bisiriyu, [21] in a study among hospital workers in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, reported 95.1% of the workers to be aware of glaucoma; however, majority (92.7%) of their study population were medical doctors and nurses. In another study in Owo, Nigeria, Komolafe et al. [22] reported that 100% and 29.2% respectively of the respondents from the clinical directorate and the administrative directorate had heard of glaucoma. In India, Ichhpujani et al. [23] conducted a study among physicians and nurses, all of whom were aware of glaucoma. The high level of awareness among the clinical staff in these studies is not surprising as they are expected to have had lectures on glaucoma in the course of their training. Unlike these studies, physicians, and nurses were excluded from our work in which 74.3% of the respondents were aware of glaucoma. Awareness of glaucoma was higher among the paramedical staff and among workers with a higher education, which were statistically significant. Most of the paramedical staff had heard of glaucoma in the course of their school training. Those with higher education are more likely to have associates who are doctors or nurses, and are more likely to read or listen to articles on health-related issues. Our study did not show any statistically significant difference among the age groups, gender and awareness of glaucoma. In other studies, varying differences among age groups, gender and awareness of glaucoma have been reported, but awareness of glaucoma was higher in those with a higher education in all of them. [12],[14],[15],[16],[19],[20] We also found that the period of employment within the hospital did not differ significantly in the awareness of glaucoma, which may imply that a person may work within a hospital environment and still be ignorant about diseases of public health significance.

Glaucoma is a disease of public health importance because it has a high prevalence, can be asymptomatic until the advanced stages, causes irreparable visual loss and is incurable. It is notable that only a minority (18.5%) of our respondents knew that glaucoma could be asymptomatic and more than half (56.5%) responded that it was curable. Similarly, in other studies that included physicians and nurses, only 21.7% of the respondents knew that glaucoma could be asymptomatic in the early stages, [22] while 39.5% of respondents reported that damage from glaucoma could be reversed. [23] On the whole, the knowledge of glaucoma was good among the hospital workers in this study, knowledge being best among the paramedical staff and worst among the domestic and security staff, who also had the lowest educational status. In the population-based study in Chennai, South India, the knowledge of glaucoma was worst in those with lower education. [14] Those with lower education are less likely to be well-informed.

Despite the high level of awareness among our respondents, 63.3% of those who were aware had never had an eye examination and only 50% of those previously diagnosed with glaucoma were on treatment. This shows a poor health-seeking behavior among the hospital workers.

From our study, we found that being a hospital worker did not translate into being aware of or being knowledgeable about glaucoma. In a society where people tend to seek the opinion of those who work in the hospital even when they are nonmedical personnel on health-related matters (which makes the hospital worker a source of health information in his community), it is paramount for hospital workers to be aware of and to have good knowledge of glaucoma, which is the "sneak thief of sight." This will enable them have the right knowledge about glaucoma, have positive health-seeking behaviors toward it and also be able to advise those who seek their opinions appropriately. Thus, we advocate that hospital management teams should organize health education programs on glaucoma geared at enlightening all workers about the disease and influencing positive health-seeking behaviors. This will impact positively on blindness prevention from glaucoma as eye health education can save needless blindness and suffering and can also reduce the economic burden of a disease. [24]

 
  References Top

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Thapa SS, Berg RV, Khanal S, Paudyal I, Pandey P, Maharjan N, et al. Prevalence of visual impairment, cataract surgery and awareness of cataract and glaucoma in Bhaktapur district of Nepal: The Bhaktapur Glaucoma Study. BMC Ophthalmol 2011;11:2.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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Ichhpujani P, Bhartiya S, Kataria M, Topiwala P. Knowledge, attitudes and self-care practices associated with glaucoma among hospital personnel in a tertiary care center in North India. J Curr Glaucoma Pract 2012;6:108-12.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
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Javitt JC. Preventing blindness in Americans: The need for eye health education. Surv Ophthalmol 1995;40:41-4.  Back to cited text no. 24
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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