Health Literacy and Success with Glaucoma Drop Administration.



To assess the relationship between health literacy and successful glaucoma drop administration.


Substudy of a single-site interventional randomized controlled trial.


Veterans receiving care at the Durham Veterans Affairs Eye Clinic who had a diagnosis of open-angle glaucoma were recruited if they endorsed poor drop adherence.


Participants underwent a health literacy evaluation using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) as well as a qualitative assessment of eye drop administration technique using 3 different criteria: (1) the drop was instilled in the eye, (2) only 1 drop was dispensed, and (3) the bottle was not potentially contaminated. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to assess the association of REALM score and successful drop administration, adjusting for age, disease severity, and Veterans Administration Care Assessment Needs (CAN) score.

Main outcome measures

Successful drop administration.


Of the 179 participants with REALM scores and observed drop administration, 78% read at a high school level (HSL) or more and 22% read at less than HSL. Of the 179 participants, 87% (n = 156) successfully instilled the drop into the eye (criterion 1). A greater proportion of participants who read at HSL or more successfully instilled the drop in the eye compared with those reading at less than HSL (90.6% vs. 75.0%; P = 0.02). Rates of success with criterion 1 were similar across different levels of visual field severity. Care Assessment Needs scores were not statistically significant between those who did and those did not have successful overall drop technique.


Poor health literacy may be associated with decreased successful drop instillation in the eye in patients with glaucoma. Screening for and considering health literacy in developing interventions to improve glaucoma self-management may improve treatment adherence in a vulnerable population.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Kang, J Minjy, Ayan Chatterjee, Jullia A Rosdahl, Hayden B Bosworth, Sandra Woolson, Maren Olsen, Malina Sexton, Miriam Kirshner, et al. (2022). Health Literacy and Success with Glaucoma Drop Administration. Ophthalmology. Glaucoma, 5(1). pp. 26–31. 10.1016/j.ogla.2021.05.004 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Jullia Ann Rosdahl

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

I am a glaucoma specialist at the Duke Eye Center.
My passions are teaching, caring for patients and doctors, and saving retinal ganglion cells.
My research interests include patient education and adherence, medical and surgical education, OCT imaging for glaucoma, and physician wellness.


Hayden Barry Bosworth

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT)  at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities. 

Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.

Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy


Kelly Walton Muir

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Kelly W. Muir, MD, specializes in the medical and surgical management of glaucoma, cataracts and general eye disease. Her research focuses on optimizing the quality of care that glaucoma patients receive by improving patient education materials, studying patient and physician communication, and developing a novel eye drop bottle that makes it easier for patients to administer their glaucoma drops.  Her research has been funded by the American Glaucoma Society, the National Eye Institute, and the Veterans Health Administration. Dr. Muir also teaches medical students, residents, and fellows about glaucoma and other ophthalmologic conditions. Dr. Muir is fellowship-trained, board-certified and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Glaucoma Society.

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