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Characteristics of patients who dropout from a glaucoma clinic.

PURPOSE: To find the dropout rate and identify the clinical characteristics of patients who drop out in the first year of follow-up from a glaucoma clinic.

DESIGN: Descriptive hospital-based study at a tertiary hospital eye department.

METHODS: Clinical characteristics of consecutive patients newly diagnosed with glaucoma who dropped out (n=452) were compared with patients who did not drop out (n=295) within 12 months.

RESULTS: The rate of dropout from follow-up was 60.5% within 1 year; 43.1% of the study group dropped out after their first follow-up visit. The dropout rate was high in all age groups, but higher in the age groups 21 to 30 years, 41 to 50 years, and over 70 years. Males had a higher dropout rate than females (78.6% vs. 34.5%). Dropout rate was higher among those with mild/moderate glaucoma than those with severe disease (88.2% vs. 37.2%); those who lived further away from the hospital than those who lived nearer to the hospital (72.5% vs. 40.8%), those who were referred from screening clinics for nonblinding eye disease compared with those referred because of a blinding eye disease (72.2% vs. 58.9%). More patients (63.8%) unsure of their family eye disease history dropped out, compared with 34.3% of those with positive family history of glaucoma and other potentially blinding diseases. More patients who had no systemic disease dropped out, than those with systemic disease (54.6% vs. 39.6%); whereas patients on 2 medications or more had a higher dropout rate than those on less than 2 medications (68.1% vs. 52.1%). Of the study factors, those that were statistically significantly associated with dropping out of follow-up from the glaucoma clinic were age, sex, place of domicile, diagnosis at referral, severity of disease, family history, and polydrug use.

CONCLUSIONS: The dropout rate from this glaucoma clinic in the first year was high (60.5%). Patients who were more likely to dropout were younger patients, male, those who travelled far distances to the clinic, those with mild to moderate glaucoma, those with no family history of blinding eye diseases, and patients taking 2 or more eyedrops. Patients who seem to perceive their problems as not serious dropped out of follow-up. These findings have great implications in planning future studies and intervention to improve the follow-up of glaucoma patients in the study area.

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