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What Glaucoma Patients Are Reading on the Internet

PurposeTo systematically assess the content, quality, accuracy, navigability, and readability of the highest ranked online information regarding glaucoma.DesignInternet-based, cross-sectional study.ParticipantsNot applicable.MethodsThe top 15 Google websites that resulted from the search term “glaucoma” were independently evaluated by 3 glaucoma specialists for content, accuracy (1–4 scale), and navigability (1–3 scale) in March 2020. Content was evaluated by answers to 25 questions regarding information most relevant to glaucoma patients (0–2 scale). Readability (Flesch-Kincaid grade level) and quality (Quality Component Scoring System) were also analyzed.Main Outcome MeasuresOverall content, accuracy, navigability, quality component scores, and reading grade level as described. Additional analyses included type of websites, presence and type of graphic content.ResultsThe mean (standard deviation) content score for all websites was 28 (7.6) of 50 possible points (range, 15–45). Inter-rater reliability for content score was good (0.619, 0.746, 0.872 for 3 pairwise comparisons between graders). Mean accuracy score was 9.8 (2.2) of 12 possible points (range, 5–12). Mean navigability score was 7.5 (1.4) of 9 possible points (range, 5–9). Mean reading grade level was 9.3 (1.7) with a range of 7–13 reading grades. Mean quality component score was 7.7 (2.6) of 13 possible points (range, 3–11). Six websites (40%) attempted to visually simulate glaucoma symptoms as tunnel vision (n = 5) and black spots (n = 1). Google rank did not correlate with any of the measures.ConclusionsThe most readily accessible online information about glaucoma varies in content, quality, accuracy, navigability, and readability. This systematic analysis identifies potential areas of improvement.


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