Awareness of diabetic retinopathy among people with diabetes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 9(4), 103-112. SAGE PublicationsSage UK: London, England (2018) .

SAGE PublicationsSage UK: London, England


Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus (DM) and the foremost cause of blindness. This study aimed to assess the level of awareness of DR and its related risk factors among patients with DM in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among patients with DM attending primary health care centers at the Ministry of Health in Jeddah. A structured, pretested, self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on the sociodemographic and DM- and DR-related characteristics of the patients. Results: A total of 377 patients were enrolled. About 82.6% of the patients were aware that DM can affect their eyes, and they listed physicians, ophthalmologists, television, and family members as common sources of information on the topic. About 36% of the patients reported that their doctors had not advised them about it. More than half responded that they did not feel their vision to be affected by DM. More than 58% had never been diagnosed with DR. About 35% did not go to their eye checkups, even though around 59% thought that DR could lead to blindness. Of the 64% of patients whose DM was well controlled, 11% and 25% listed surgery and laser treatment, respectively, as available treatment options for DR. The following factors were found to be significant in relation to the subjects’ awareness that DM can affect their eyes: the patients’ perception of their doctors’ advice about DR; the experience of having their vision affected by DM; the knowledge that DR may lead to blindness; the practice of going to eye checkups. Conclusions: Despite having good awareness about DM and its effects on eyes, the patients exhibited a relative lack of awareness about DR. Considering the association of DR with DM, its increasing magnitude is a potential burden on the community and health systems.

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