Life Experiences of Patients With Glaucoma: A Phenomenological Study

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Background:Studies that describe the experiences of patients with glaucoma from different cultures may help health professionals gain a broader perspective on this issue. Currently, few qualitative studies describe how patients with glaucoma in Turkey cope with daily life.Purpose:The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of patients with glaucoma.Method:This descriptive phenomenological study used purposive sampling to enroll 20 patients with glaucoma. A qualitative, in-depth, face-to-face interview technique was used to collect data during January and February 2014. The data were analyzed using to the Van Kaam method.Results:Seven themes were identified, including confirming the diagnosis by acute symptoms or unrelated symptoms, grateful to God for having a non-life-threatening disease, feeling happy after receiving more accurate information, coping with the disease by using eye drops and attending follow-up examinations regularly, managing daily life to avoid further damage to eyesight, emotional reactions related to going blind, and urging family members or friends to attend regular glaucoma checkups.Conclusions:Patients with glaucoma experience physiological and psychological problems throughout the course of their disease. Being informed and cultural practices such as “praising God” and “resignation” helped patients cope with the disease. Furthermore, because of the cultural characteristic of social collectivism, participants acted to protect the health of others by informing them about glaucoma.Implications for Practice:Understanding the experiences of patients with glaucoma is important for nursing practice. Nurses should be encouraged to take a greater role in the care of patients with glaucoma by becoming the primary source of glaucoma disease, treatment, and care-related information.

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