Aim: To assess the awareness and knowledge levels about glaucoma and its determinants in an urban population of Chennai in south India. Materials and Methods: Chennai glaucoma study (CGS) was a population based prevalence study to estimate the prevalence of glaucoma in a rural and urban south Indian population. A total of 3850 subjects aged 40 years or above participated in the urban arm of CGS. A systematic random sample of 1926 (50.0%) subjects completed a questionnaire that assesses their awareness and knowledge level of glaucoma. Respondents "having heard of glaucoma" even before they were contacted/recruited for the study were defined as "aware" and respondents having some understanding of the eye disease were defined as "knowledgeable". Results: Overall 13.5% were aware of glaucoma, the age-gender adjusted rate for awareness was 13.3% (95% CI: 11.57 to 15.03). Two clinicians graded knowledge on glaucoma, based on the subject's knowledge of risk factors, definitions and treatment aspects of glaucoma. Overall 8.7% had some knowledge about glaucoma. Among those who had knowledge 0.5% had good knowledge about glaucoma, 4% had fair knowledge and 4.2% had poor knowledge. We observed a very good agreement between the clinicians in grading knowledge (k =0.92). Determinants of glaucoma awareness and knowledge were higher levels of education, females, age, religion and family history of glaucoma. Conclusion: Awareness and knowledge about glaucoma was very low among the urban population of Chennai. We have found that younger subjects and men were less aware of glaucoma. Subjects with lower levels of education were less aware and knew less about glaucoma than their counterparts. The study findings stress the need for health education for effective prevention of blindness due to glaucoma.
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