Self-Reported Eye Care Knowledge and Practices among General Practice Physicians in Anambra State, Nigeria
Asian Journal of Research and Reports in Ophthalmology,
Introduction: Doctors in general medical practice (general practitioners) and other health care professionals are important participants in primary eye care as not all eye diseases need specialist care, and people with eye diseases would not all be able to access eye care specialists. Therefore, the knowledge and practices of a general practitioner to eye diseases are important because a misdiagnosis of an ocular condition could be deleterious to sight.
Aim: To assess the knowledge base and practices of general practitioners in eye care delivery.
Materials and methods: The study design is a cross-sectional survey of physicians in general practice using a self-administered semi-structured questionnaire. Information on duration of practice, self-reported knowledge and practices of eye care, types of eye diseases managed, medications used and criteria for referral were obtained from the participants.
Results: One hundred and fifteen general practitioners were interviewed. Their mean duration of practice was 25.5 ± 10.3 years. Of the participants, only 6 (5.2%) had done refresher course in ophthalmology. However, 73(63.5%) general practitioners asserted their knowledge in ophthalmology was adequate. Eighty-three (72.2%) consulted and treated eye diseases in their practice. The most common of such were conjunctivitis, trauma, foreign body, blepharitis and ophthalmia neonatorum. Common medicines used were eye drops and ointments consisting of antibiotics, and steroid/antibiotics combination, antihistamines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-glaucoma medications. Criteria for referral were eye diseases beyond their competence, defective vision, and systemic diseases with potential blinding complications. A majority 94.8% desired continuing medical education to increase their capability in eye care.
Conclusion: Spectrum of eye diseases treated, and medicines used are within expectations of participation of general practice doctors in primary eye care. Criteria for referral to an ophthalmologist are reasonable. However, methods for imparting requisite medical knowledge are advocated for these group of practitioners to prevent misdiagnosis and potential loss of sight.
- Eye care
- Eye diseases
- General practitioners
How to Cite
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