Religion and Glaucoma Summary

Purpose: To evaluate the impact of religious adherence on a patient’s outlook on disease in a glaucoma population. Methods: A prospective survey analysis of patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension evaluating self-reported global religious adherence, adherence to specific basic activities and knowledge of faith (‘maturity’) and ‘comfort’ (ability to cope, attitude toward glaucoma, motivation to take medication and God’s concern). This specific analysis was limited to self-professed Christians. Results: 248 patients were included and religious adherence was correlated to religious activity and knowledge (p<0.0001). Patients who scored as adherent on at least 1 of 4 maturity questions had greater benefit than less adherent patients from each of the 5 comfort questions (p<0.0001). We found an increased statistical separation on each of the 5 comfort questions between religiously adherent and less adherent individuals for patients who scored as adherent on any 2 (n = 40), 3 (n = 50) or all 4 (n = 57) of the maturity questions (p<0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests, at least for the Christian faith, that religious patients are subjectively more prone to cope with treatment and that religiosity increases the self-confidence, and possibly the quality of life, of patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Whether this necessarily translates into better glaucoma practices remains to be demonstrated by further studies.