Awareness of Diabetic Retinopathy among patients with Diabetes Mellitus in Ilorin, Nigeria


Background: Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of blindness worldwide. The associated loss of productivity and quality of life of the patients with diabetic retinopathy will lead to additional socioeconomic burden. This study aims to determine the level of awareness of diabetic retinopathy among diabetic patients.

Materials and Methods: This hospital-based cross sectional study, was carried out at the Diabetic and Ophthalmology clinics of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria from November 2011 to July 2012. A total of 365 patients had validated, semi-structured, and interviewer-administered questionnaires to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics, clinical information and awareness of diabetic retinopathy.

Results: A total of 365 patients were enrolled, with age between 19 and 90 years, and a mean of 45.8 ±16.3 years. The male to female ratio was 1: 2.2. Ninety-nine respondents (27.1%) had no education. The majority (30.4%) had only primary education; 21.1% had tertiary; 14.5% had secondary while 6.8% had Quranic education. The mean duration of diabetes mellitus was 14.1 ±13.09 years. Of the 365 patients with diabetes mellitus, 279(76.4%) had heard that diabetes mellitus affects the eyes, while 86(23.6%) had not. Of those who had heard, 221(79.2%) heard it from health personnel, 45(16.1%) from radio/television, 25(9.0%) from internet, 23(8.2%) from books/newspapers, while 16(5.7%) heard from other sources.

Conclusion: There was a high level of awareness of diabetic retinopathy amongst the patients. However, the high level of awareness of the blinding complication of diabetes mellitus did not translate to a correspondingly high level of ocular examination for diabetic retinopathy.  

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