Assessment of Online Patient Education Materials Designed for People with Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Background: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic eye condition that leads to permanent vision loss in the central visual field. AMD makes reading challenging and inefficient. People with AMD often find it difficult to access, process and understand written patient education materials (PEMs). To promote health literacy, the demands of written PEMs must match the literacy capacities of the target audience. This study aims to evaluate the readability (grade level) and suitability
... and suitability (appropriateness) of online PEMs designed for people with AMD. Methods: Online PEMs were sourced from websites of national organizations providing patient education materials designed for people with AMD. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula and the Suitability Assessment of Materials instrument were used to assess the readability and suitability of PEMs. Descriptive statistics were used to compare online PEMs by organization based on national guidelines for readability level (≤ sixth grade) and the recommended suitability score (≥ 70%) for "superior" material.Results: One hundred online PEMs were evaluated from websites of 16 professional organizations. The mean readability level was 9.3 (range 5.0-16.6). The mean suitability score was 53% (range 18%-78%). Only six (6%) of PEMs achieved the recommended guidelines for readability level and suitability score.Conclusion: The majority of online PEMs designed for people with AMD were written above the recommended readability level, and below the suggested suitability score. To promote health literacy, the demands of written health information must match the reading capacities of the target audience. Heeding to evidence-based guidelines for providing written information to patients with low health literacy and low vision is beneficial for both patients and health care providers. Future research is warranted.