Researchers in China have found that glaucoma patients harbour a wide range of concerns stemming from the "unknown" nature of how their eyesight could deteriorate.
The scientists, from Shanghai"s Fudan University, spoke to 24 people with glaucoma, which can lead to severe restriction of vision and irreversible blindness if not detected early enough.
It is estimated that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind as a result of the condition, with more than a third living in China.
Participants in the study described fears of going blind and feelings of being powerless to do anything that might help slow down the onset of glaucoma.
"Peer support was very important as it gave the patients a sense of belonging," the researchers noted.
For example, "there was a lot of confusion among patients about how to administer their eye drops", they added.
Co-author of the research, Shu-Xin Ci, from the university"s nursing department, said there glaucoma patients experienced a "wide range" of emotional and psychological changes following diagnosis.
by Alexa Kaczka