Patients' knowledge and perception on optic neuritis management before and after an information session.

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Matti, Albert I
McCarl, Helen
Klaer, Pamela
Keane, Miriam Claire
Chen, Celia Shin Wen
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Background Patients' understanding of their condition affect the choice of treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate patients' understanding and treatment preferences before and after an information session on the treatment of acute optic neuritis. Methods Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of 14 questions before and after an information session presented by a neuro-ophthalmologist. The information session highlighted the treatment options and the treatment effects based on the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial in plain patient language. The information session stressed the finding that high dose intravenous steroid therapy accelerated visual recovery but does not change final vision and that treatment with oral prednisone alone resulted in a higher incidence of recurrent optic neuritis. Results Before the information session, 23 (85%) participants knew that there was treatment available for ON and this increased to 27 (100%) after the information session. There were no significantly change in patients knowledge of symptoms of ON and purpose of treatment before and after the information session. Before the information session, 4 (14%) respondents reported they would like to be treated by oral steroid alone in the event of an optic neuritis and 5 (19%) did not respond. After the education session, only 1 patient (4%) indicated they would undergo treatment with oral steroid alone but 25 (92%) indicated they would undergo treatment with intravenous steroid treatment, alone or in combination with oral treatment. Results indicated that there were significant differences in the numbers of participants selecting that they would undergo treatment with a steroid injection (n = 22, p = 0.016). Conclusions In this study, patients have shown good understanding of the symptoms and signs of optic neuritis. The finding that significant increases in the likelihood of patients engaging in best practice can be achieved with an information session is very important. This suggests that patient knowledge of available treatments and outcomes can play an important role in implementing and adopting guideline recommendations.
© 2010 Matti et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Matti, A.I., Keane, M.C., McCarl, H., Klaer, P. and Chen, C.S.W. (2010). Patients' knowledge and perception on optic neuritis management before and after an information session. BMC Ophthalmology, 10(7) pp. 1-6.