Evaluating the quality and readability of online information on keratoconus treatment (2023)

Type of publication:Journal article

Author(s):Panthagani, Jesse; Hamze, Hisham; *Riaz, Afrah; Moussa, George

Citation:Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. 58(2):150-155, 2023

Abstract:OBJECTIVE This study aims to evaluate the quality and readability of online resources on keratoconus treatment. METHODS A Google.com search was conducted on August 9, 2020; 32 web sites were selected for analysis. Popularity was assessed by Google and Alexa rank. The quality of web sites was analyzed using the quality criteria for consumer health information (DISCERN) tool, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmark, and the Health On the Net Code of Conduct Certification (HONcode). The readability of the web sites was assessed using the Fleschwebr hea Reading Ease, the Automated Readability Index, and the Fleschted Readability RESULTS: The JAMA benchmark scores, unlike the DISCERN scores, were correlated with the Google and Alexa rank. One web site (3.1%) met all the JAMA benchmark criteria, and 3 (9.3%) others had HON code certification. The median DISCERN score was 33 (range, 29.6-43.1; maximum possible, 80). Rnib.org.uk scored the highest at 57 (71.0%). The mean Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score (52.9 ± 7.1) corresponded to uk" n DIdifficult to read." Thirty-one web sites (96.8%) had a Flesch-Kincaid Grade higher than the American Medical Association recommendation of sixth grade level. The median Automated Readability Index score was 7 (range, 6.2-7.3). CONCLUSION The majority of online information currently available on keratoconus treatment is complex and highly variable. Rnib.org.uk is the best currently available source. Clinicians should inform patients on how to assess the credibility of online information and recommend suitable information sources