Clearing the Fog: Investigating Cataract Awareness and Treatment Knowledge among the General Population of District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
Dr Swati Dhiman and Dr Chandresh Thakur
Dr Chandresh Thakur
Abstract: Background: Cataracts pose a significant global health challenge, with the potential to cause vision impairment and blindness. Given the aging population and the increasing burden of cataracts worldwide, understanding public awareness and knowledge of this condition is crucial. This study aimed to assess the levels of awareness and knowledge about cataracts, their symptoms, and treatment options among the general population of District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between April and July 2023, involving 400 adults aged 18 and above residing in District Kangra. A structured questionnaire was employed to collect data on socio-demographics and knowledge related to cataracts. Data analysis was performed using Epi Info V7 Software, including descriptive statistics. Results: The study revealed varying levels of knowledge among the participants. While a majority displayed fair to good knowledge, there were knowledge gaps in identifying risk factors, prevention, and self-assessment. Approximately 57.75% recognized what a cataract is and how it affects vision. Similarly, 60.75% could name common cataract symptoms, and 54.5% understood age-related prevalence. However, only 26% identified risk factors contributing to cataract development, and 24.5% were aware that dietary changes or eye exercises cannot prevent cataracts. Importantly, 57.25% recognized cataract surgery as the primary treatment method. Conclusion: This study highlights both strengths and weaknesses in the awareness and knowledge of cataracts in District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. While there is a reasonably good understanding of some aspects, such as cataract definition and surgery, there is room for improvement, particularly in educating the community about risk factors, prevention, and self-assessment. Addressing these knowledge gaps is essential to promote early diagnosis and timely treatment, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for individuals affected by cataracts.