Knowledge and attitudes toward corneal donation among health sciences undergraduate students
Aims: assess the knowledge and attitudes toward corneal donation among health sciences undergraduate students.
Methods: this is an observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study, that included students enrolled in the undergraduate courses in Speech Therapy, Nutrition and Metabolism, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, offered by the University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP), University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto campus. The students responded to a structured instrument in the classroom. A questionnaire containing 16 items regarding knowledge about corneal transplantation and questions about attitudes towards donation was applied. The questionnaire was based on instruments used in similar studies.
Results: 335 students (83.1% female) participated in the research. Only 6.6% reported knowing how to proceed to be a corneal donor, and 55.5% reported knowing that corneal removal can only be performed after the donor’s death. Among the 16 items of the knowledge questionnaire, the students had a mean of only 5.6 correct answers, with a standard deviation of 3.1.
Conclusions: the knowledge of the interviewed students about corneal donation is quite unsatisfactory. Given the known shortage of corneas for transplantation, educational actions are needed to make these future professionals able to spread the practice of corneal donation among their future patients and their families.
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