Background Glaucoma in adults is a leading eye disease that causes blindness. Its management is life long and both surgical and medical treatment options are available to manage this ailment. Patients and their caregiver’s cooperation in instilling timely eye drops is crucial for the effective reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) and by halting/delaying the progression of visual disabilities due to glaucoma. Periodic assessment and strict adherence to medical treatment has been found to be less than desired. It is influenced by the severity of the disease, the duration of the ailment, the number of eye drops being used, the literacy level, and the cost of medication. We present the adherence rate of topical medications and its determinants among adult Saudi glaucoma patients getting treated in 2017 in a tertiary eye center in Saudi Arabia. Methodology This cross-sectional survey was carried out from January to March 2017 at a tertiary eye hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. To undertake a cross-sectional study, we assumed that among 1300 patients visiting the eye department of a tertiary eye hospital, the level of non-adherence to glaucoma medication would be in 27% of glaucoma patients. To achieve a 95% confidence interval and an acceptable error margin of 5% for a survey, we needed to interview at least 253 participants. Results We interviewed 263 randomly selected glaucoma patients among 1236 patients visiting the eye department of the tertiary eye hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two-thirds of participants were school graduates, Saudi nationals, and had undergone surgery for glaucoma in the past; perhaps only YAG laser peripheral iridotomy (PI). Less than half of the participants (43%) had less than a one-year duration of glaucoma. The client-perceived subjective adherence rate to glaucoma medication was noted in 191/263 = 72.6% (95% Confidence Interval 67.2 -78.0). Of the 263 glaucoma patients, 229 judiciously abided with their follow-up appointments with ophthalmologists. Thus, the compliance to follow-up for glaucoma treatment was 87.1% (95% CI 83.0 – 91.1). Conclusion Our study with a large sample is perhaps the first one to assess compliance with medical treatment among adult Saudi glaucoma patients. The adherence rate for topical glaucoma medication measured using the subjective method was 72% among adult glaucoma patients. Adherence with the follow-up appointment with the glaucoma specialist was as high as 87%. Adherence with medical treatment found in the present study versus the literature review suggested that despite different sets of barriers, the adherence rate in Saudi adult glaucoma patients noted in our study was high. Knowledge, beliefs, and attitude are known to affect the adherence rate. In our study, education level and relatives having glaucoma were not associated with the adherence rate. This indirectly suggests that knowledge about the use of medication in the treatment of glaucoma that is gained by patients had a limited influence on adherence in our glaucoma patients. Modes of dispersing knowledge to elderly glaucoma patients and their impact on the adherence rates of medications for glaucoma management need to be further studied.Copyright © 2020, Shadid et al.
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