Sunday, November 9, 2008

Faith affects treatment compliance in glaucoma

A broad awareness among ophthalmologists regarding the religious beliefs of the patient groups they treat will allow them to formulate management plans in keeping with these beliefs without compromising care, according to research presented at the joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Increasingly, ophthalmologists care for patients of diverse backgrounds and this trend is accelerating the need for reliable information on the interaction of religious beliefs and compliance with prescribed treatments.

The effectiveness of glaucoma treatment, in particular, often depends on patients’ ability and willingness to self-administer eye drop medications on a regular schedule over months or years. Glaucoma patients often notice no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, which poses challenges for physicians in motivating patients to stick to treatment regimens. If patients neglect treatment until their vision noticeably declines, the damage is often irreversible.

Many of the world’s religions practise obligatory or voluntary fasting (abstaining from food and often also fluid) during periods that can last from a few days to more than a month, on an annual basis. Researchers led by Nishant Kumar, MBBS, of the University Hospital, Liverpool, UK, studied patient compliance in relation to fasting by analysing 350 surveys completed by members of the world's major faiths: Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Judaism, Bahai, and Buddhism (50 surveys per religion) — the first study of its kind, the researchers believe.

Population reports show that approximately 20 per cent of the world’s people are Muslim and about 15 per cent are Hindu; fasting is important to both religions. It is mandatory during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan for Muslims; for Hindus fasting is generally voluntary.
Dr Kumar’s team previously surveyed Muslim patients on their use of prescribed eye drops during Ramadan and concluded that treatment compliance was significantly reduced in patients who kept the fast. If patients reduced or stopped their glaucoma treatment for an extended period, such as the month of Ramadan or other continuous fasting periods, their vision could be adversely affected.

In the new survey, the majority of patients self-identified as Hindus, Muslims and Jains stated that the use of eye drops during their fasting hours would break their fast, and therefore they would not use drops while fasting. However, these patient groups said they would be more likely to use drops while fasting for painful eye conditions or if vision was affected. The majority of Christian, Buddhist, Bahai and Jewish survey respondents did not believe that using drops would break their fasts, and stated that they would use eye drops during their fasting periods.
“A broad awareness among ophthalmologists regarding the religious beliefs of the patient groups they treat will allow them to formulate management plans in keeping with these beliefs without compromising care,” said Dr Kumar.

1 comment:

Bal Patil said...

As an activist for Jain religious minority right under the Indian constitution and and a Jain scholar I am surprised to know that fasting prevents my fellow Jains from using eye drops. I think this is absurd and ridiculous. But mercifully this fasting fraternity makes an exception when suffereing from painful eye conditions.

2. Secondly, since The EuroTimes is a prominent opthalmological journal I wonder if I can voice one of my ideas for whatever worth it is for the examinations of your eminent expertise:

NEUROVISION

NEUROVISION



The Japanese Sony have patented an idea of transmitting data with smell and taste directly into the brain. Theoretically it is indeed a giant step towards neurocerebral ex[ploration of the "real-life matrix" as New Scientist report notes. (April 2005)

My idea concerns interaction between opthalmological, cerebral, and neurological sciences. Everyone is aware how some people are gifted with graphic memories, and everyone has experience of storing and recalling mentally vivid and graphic remembrance of things, people and places as if by photographic recall. I wonder if it would be possible to synchronise optical cerebral nerves and form digital electronic images and project them through appropriate software technology. Already opthalmological advances are making it possible for the blind to see through artificial vision.

Opthalmological science is on the brink of a quantum jump : researchers are trying to produce articial vision system. An intensive and intricate research effort is going on for a decade at the Johns Hopkins University to artificially replace damaged eyes . And a flickering hope in this visionary odyssey is provided by their experiment on Churchey's eyes.

In place of the damaged 72-year old eyes of Cherchey the researchers are trying to produce an artificial vision system that can electronically transmit images to the brain to create sight. The system would consist of a computerised miniature video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and sophisticated computer chip that that would be surgically implanted into the eye. The camera would transmit its image to the computer chip, which would be connected to tissue in the back of the eye called the retine so it could transmit images to the brain.


-BAL PATIL


Following is my letter dated June 17, 2000 to New Scientist:

Dear Editor, New Scientist,

I am concerned to write to you after reading about an Aljazeera (AFP) report of the NS exclusive report on Sony's patent for transmitting smell and taste. I am reproducing below a letter I wrote to you on June 17, 2000:

June 17, 2000,

Dear Editor, New Scientist,
I am writing to you second time in a span of two decades. My first letter to you was published in New Scientist dt.20/27 December, 1979, of which I have pleasure in attaching a copy. It was concerning the British Council library services in India. I have attached my correspondence with the British government . In retrospect it was a wise decision not only not to close the services in India as ill-advisedly suggested by the Think Tank but to augment the same. As a member of the British Council for more than four decades I always cherish its excellent library services. And not the least of its prime attractions is the latest issue of New Scientist which I make a point to read.

The creative provocation for writing this letter in a spirit of remembrance of things past was provided by the New Scientist issue dt. June 6, 2000 and its column ' Pennies for your Thoughts', in which you have given information about some websites like IdeaDollar.com and HelloBrain.com where one can cash on one's brainwaves. As one who has become computer-savvy in the last four months at the age of 67 and roaming the wonderland of the internet I feel an irresistible urge to share with you and the readers of your prestigious magazine before logging in with these sites an idea . By this strategy I am safeguarding my idea in case it has any potential worth.

My idea concerns interaction between opthalmological, cerebral, and neurological sciences. Everyone is aware how some people are gifted with graphic memories, and everyone has experience of storing and recalling mentally vivid and graphic remembrance of things, people and places as if by photographic recall. I wonder if it would be possible to synchronise optical cerebral nerves and form digital electronic images and project them through appropriate software technology. Already opthalmological advances are making it possible for the blind to see through artificial vision.

Opthalmological science is on the brink of a quantum jump : researchers are trying to produce articial vision system. An intensive and intricate research effort is going on for a decade at the Johns Hopkins University to artificially replace damaged eyes . And a flickering hope in this visionary odyssey is provided by their experiment on Churchey's eyes.

In place of the damaged 72-year old eyes of Cherchey the researchers are trying to produce an artificial vision system that can electronically transmit images to the brain to create sight. The system would consist of a computerised miniature video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and sophisticated computer chip that that would be surgically implanted into the eye. The camera would transmit its image to the computer chip, which would be connected to tissue in the back of the eye called the retine so it could transmit images to the brain.

I rather think that the development of such a device of video-neuro-optical transmission would be as innovative as television and could be termed as Neurovision.
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