Darren Knight

Major and Classification

Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor

  • Brian Francis, Ph.D.


  • Keck School of Medicine

McNair Project

Glaucoma is an ocular disease that leads to degeneration of retinal ganglion cells. In the chronic version of glaucoma, lack of pain creates patients that are often unaware that they their eyesight has begun to deteriorate. They remain unaware of their condition until they suddenly lose their sight due to leaving the disease untreated. Even when glaucoma is diagnosed, a considerable number of patients suffer blindness due to noncompliance. African Americans suffer from glaucoma at a higher rate than whites and noncompliance is a significant cause of this gap. The study analyzed the relationship between patient satisfaction and potential compliance with glaucoma treatment by administering surveys to African American patients over the age of forty. The survey questions focused on finding a relationship between patient satisfaction and compliance with glaucoma treatment. The study found that a large portion of the participants cited the importance of the length of treatment and providers experience in complying with a primary healthcare provider. Participants consistently mentioned the importance of a provider’s qualities and skill, but many noted that the price of a consultation could override other factors. Interestingly, the importance of price remained consistent amongst patients from different income ranges. These preliminary results imply that the gap in glaucoma induced blindness between African Americans and other races could be eliminated through intervention targeting the cost of care. Eliminating the cost concerns could very likely improve compliance rates, rather than focusing solely on patient satisfaction.