Background: Corneal pathology contributes to 3.5%-9.5% cases of visual impairment in Saudi Arabia, while a significant shortage of corneas that are procured for transplantation is noted. Thereby, this study was conducted to assess the level and determinants of knowledge and attitude regarding corneal donation among the Saudi population.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia from 01 July to 30 September 2018. An electronically administered questionnaire collected socio-demographic data, knowledge (seven items) and attitude regarding corneal donation (seven items). A knowledge score (range = 0-7) was calculated as the number of correct answers. Associations of knowledge score with socio-demographic features and attitude items were analyzed using nonparametric tests.
Results: The study included 1,001 participants with 70.4% females, 42.9% aged 20-29 years, and 69.9% highly educated. The median knowledge score was 2 out of 7, which was higher among females and gradually increased with age (p = 0.016). Attitude showed 28.5% participants were favorable to corneal donation and 21.8% were ready to register as a donor. Non-acceptance of organ separation (44.8%), religion (24.7%), and lack of knowledge (23.6%) were the most frequently reported obstacles to corneal donation. Knowledge level was significantly associated with willingness to donate (p = 0.003), awareness about donation registration procedures (p < 0.001), and readiness to register as a donor (p = 0.004).
Conclusion: Corneal transplantation is not well known among the Saudi population, emphasizing the need for nationwide awareness raising programs, which may increase the number of potential donors.
Cornea, donation, donor, transplantation, knowledge