PURPOSE:: To determine adherence rates and beliefs about glaucoma and its treatment in white Americans, African Americans, white Australians, and Singaporeans of Chinese descent. PATIENTS AND METHODS:: Cross-sectional study of 475 glaucoma patients using topical eye drops for at least 6 months. The sample consisted of white Americans (n=133), African Americans (n=58), white Australians (n=107), and Singaporeans of Chinese descent (n=117). Self-reported adherence and beliefs about glaucoma and its treatment were assessed using the Reported Adherence to Medication scale, the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, and the Beliefs about Medicines-Specific Questionnaire. RESULTS:: Accounting for sociodemographic differences, significant differences in self-reported adherence rates were identified (P<0.001). White Americans and Australians reported significantly higher adherence (65.4%, 67.7% reported complete adherence) than African Americans or Singaporeans (56.9%, 47.5%, respectively; P<0.05). Beliefs about glaucoma treatment were predictive of adherence only in the Australian and white American samples (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS:: In western cultures, attempts to improve adherence may benefit from greater examination of individual's concerns about, and perceived need, for glaucoma treatment. Further studies are needed to identify the critical predictors of adherence in nonwestern cultures and to validate measures in these populations.
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