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A qualitative study of patients' perceptions of acute infective conjunctivitis

A qualitative study of patients' perceptions of acute infective conjunctivitis
A qualitative study of patients' perceptions of acute infective conjunctivitis
Background: acute infective conjunctivitis is a self-limiting condition that commonly presents to primary care. Patients' understanding of conjunctivitis, their reasons for attendance, and their responses to different management strategies, are unknown.

Aim: to explore patients' understanding of conjunctivitis and its management.

Design of study: qualitative study using semi-structured one-to-one interviews.

Setting: three general practices in Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Method: twenty-five patients presenting with conjunctivitis at their general practices were interviewed. Main outcome measures were patients' perceptions of conjunctivitis, their experience and knowledge of the disease, beliefs regarding treatment, and their responses to different management strategies and a patient information leaflet.

Results: patients regarded conjunctivitis as a minor illness, although some considered it might become more serious if not treated. Nearly all were confident at recognising conjunctivitis. They stated a preference for not taking medication, but believed that conjunctivitis would not clear up without treatment. However, they were open to alternative management approaches; for example, the delayed prescription approach, because they trusted their general practitioners' (GPs') judgement. Once they were aware of the self-limiting nature of conjunctivitis, patients felt they would prefer to wait a few days to see if the condition improved before seeking medical advice, even if this resulted in a few more days of symptoms.

Conclusion: patients who attend their general practices with conjunctivitis present for treatment because they are not aware of its self-limiting nature. Providing patients with this information may enable patients, enhance self-management, and reduce the use of topical antibiotics and the demand for urgent general practice appointments.
acute infective conjunctivitis, patients' perceptions, self-care, patient education, interviews
0960-1643
36-41
Everitt, H.
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef
Kumar, S.
695e30ec-08ac-4ad7-9f6b-b18dc52bcd0b
Little, P.
1bf2d1f7-200c-47a5-ab16-fe5a8756a777
Everitt, H.
80b9452f-9632-45a8-b017-ceeeee6971ef
Kumar, S.
695e30ec-08ac-4ad7-9f6b-b18dc52bcd0b
Little, P.
1bf2d1f7-200c-47a5-ab16-fe5a8756a777

Everitt, H., Kumar, S. and Little, P. (2003) A qualitative study of patients' perceptions of acute infective conjunctivitis. British Journal of General Practice, 53 (486), 36-41.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: acute infective conjunctivitis is a self-limiting condition that commonly presents to primary care. Patients' understanding of conjunctivitis, their reasons for attendance, and their responses to different management strategies, are unknown.

Aim: to explore patients' understanding of conjunctivitis and its management.

Design of study: qualitative study using semi-structured one-to-one interviews.

Setting: three general practices in Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Method: twenty-five patients presenting with conjunctivitis at their general practices were interviewed. Main outcome measures were patients' perceptions of conjunctivitis, their experience and knowledge of the disease, beliefs regarding treatment, and their responses to different management strategies and a patient information leaflet.

Results: patients regarded conjunctivitis as a minor illness, although some considered it might become more serious if not treated. Nearly all were confident at recognising conjunctivitis. They stated a preference for not taking medication, but believed that conjunctivitis would not clear up without treatment. However, they were open to alternative management approaches; for example, the delayed prescription approach, because they trusted their general practitioners' (GPs') judgement. Once they were aware of the self-limiting nature of conjunctivitis, patients felt they would prefer to wait a few days to see if the condition improved before seeking medical advice, even if this resulted in a few more days of symptoms.

Conclusion: patients who attend their general practices with conjunctivitis present for treatment because they are not aware of its self-limiting nature. Providing patients with this information may enable patients, enhance self-management, and reduce the use of topical antibiotics and the demand for urgent general practice appointments.

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More information

Published date: January 2003
Keywords: acute infective conjunctivitis, patients' perceptions, self-care, patient education, interviews

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 24330
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/24330
ISSN: 0960-1643
PURE UUID: 68897195-1e18-4d63-949d-9f3b68604f33
ORCID for H. Everitt: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-8403

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:02

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Contributors

Author: H. Everitt ORCID iD
Author: S. Kumar
Author: P. Little

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