Readability of Online Patient Education Materials for Glaucoma

Brian T. Cheng, Anne B. Kim, Angelo P. Tanna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Précis: We assessed the readability of online glaucoma patient education materials using seven validated instruments. Overall, glaucoma materials were written at a 10th to 11th grade level, above the recommended seventh grade reading level. Purpose: Online health information is increasingly used by patients, yet previous studies show online patient education materials are often difficult to understand. As such, the American Medical Association recommends that patient education materials are written at or below a seventh grade reading level. This study aimed to assess the readability of online glaucoma patient education materials. Methods: Glaucoma was entered into the Google search engine, and the first 30 search results were assessed for readability using seven validated readability instruments. Scientific articles, forums, and dictionary entries were excluded. Single sample t tests were used to assess whether online glaucoma materials were written above the recommended seventh grade level. Results: Overall, glaucoma materials were written at a mean grade level of 10.33 (SD: 2.02). Across 6 grade level readability instruments, these patient education materials were written above the recommended seventh grade reading level (P<0.0001 for all). Glaucoma education materials only on the first page of Google search results were of a similar reading level: mean 10.56 (SD: 2.13). The readability instruments used in this study showed strong consistency. Conclusions: Glaucoma patient education materials are written above the recommended reading level to promote accessibility of education materials. This may contribute to lower patient engagement, worse clinical outcomes, and greater racial and ethnic disparities in glaucoma management. There is a need for reliable, simple glaucoma information to improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-442
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Glaucoma
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Keywords

  • disparities
  • glaucoma
  • literacy
  • outcomes
  • patient education
  • readability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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