Background: Diseases affecting the cornea are a major cause of blindness worldwide, and affect mainly the young and those of middle age resulting in blindness during the normally productive years and beyond Cornea transplants can cure corneal blindness; however, the number of corneas available in Ethiopia is small.
Objective: To assess the socio-demographic factors influencing the attitude of academic staff and students towards corneal donation.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Jimma University in January 2009 on a total of 403 students and academic staff Data was analyzed using SPSS version 13.0. Independent-samples t-test, ANOVA, and descriptive statistics were done as necessary. Level of significance was taken at 5%.
Results: The respondents were in the age group of 18-43 years with mean 22.1 (SD +/- 3.3), and 324 (81.6%) of them were males. Among the respondents, 327 (81.8%) had heard about cornea donation. Respondents who had awareness about corneal donation, age above 66th percentile, educational level of year four and above had a more positive attitude towards corneal donation (p < 0.05). But those with church attending habit, and Muslims had unfavorable attitude (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Level of awareness and religion play a significant role in influencing attitude towards corneal donation. Religious leaders should therefore, play an active role to change people's attitude.