Providing information to patients about their medical condition and treatment options is important in medical management. To assess patients' knowledge of their ocular disease, prognosis, and treatment a questionnaire based survey was performed. 219 patients selected by random systematic sampling during six months from patients attending general ophthalmic clinics in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, were questioned and 217 questionnaires were analysed. The findings showed that patients' knowledge of their diagnosis depended on their condition: patients with common conditions such as glaucoma and cataract had a better understanding of their condition, its treatment, and prognosis compared with patients with rarer conditions such as retinal detachment or patients with multiple diagnoses. In all, 152 patients (70%) wanted more information about their condition; 49 (23%) did not (although 12 (25%) had attempted to obtain information); and 16 (7%) were undecided. In view of the few patients with a precise understanding of their ophthalmic diagnosis and prognosis and the majority's wish for access to further information, that access needs improvement and different modes of disseminating the information should be implemented.
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