ReGAE 5: Can we improve the surgical journey for African-Caribbean patients undergoing glaucoma filtration surgery? Some preliminary findings

Clin Ophthalmol. 2009;3:1-12. Epub 2009 Jun 2.


Aim: To explore the experiences of African-Caribbean patients who had undergone filtration surgery for advanced glaucoma.

Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were used to collect the data and an interview guide was developed. Participants recounted when they first became aware of a problem with their eyes and their feelings at the time. Subsequently they were probed about their subjective experiences of becoming a glaucoma patient, receiving treatment, the decision to undergo surgery, and its aftermath. The perceptions of three participants from three different generations of African-Caribbean men were selected from the larger study for presentation in this paper. Interview transcripts were subjected to narrative analysis.

Results: The concept of patient-partnership was re-framed in terms of mentorship. Surgeon-patient relationships are central to developing effective coping strategies. Support to face the ordeals ahead, challenge to take on new responsibilities, and help to envision a meaningful life with glaucoma are fundamental to fostering trust and maintaining motivation to continue.

Conclusions: The use of patient narratives provides a valuable a resource for enhancing communication skills and patient-centered care in the hospital eye service.

Keywords: African-Caribbean; filtration surgery; glaucoma; secondary eye-care; trabeculectomy.