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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-50

Bridging the gap – Where do we stand? An inquiry into awareness of diabetic retinopathy among diabetics

Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Charmaine Bridgette Solomon
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_89_20

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Introduction: Awareness of diabetic patients with regard to diabetic retinopathy, its treatment options was assessed; as well as relation between gender, disease duration, socioeconomic and educational status with awareness of diabetic eye involvement. Methods: This was a hospital-based cross-sectional descriptive study using a semi-structured questionnaire among diabetic patients attending ophthalmology services of a tertiary care teaching hospital in North Kerala. Results: Of 203 patients, 58% were male and 42% were female. Majority belonged to the age group of 61–70 years (35.5%) and duration of diabetes of 1–5 years (28%). Sixty-six percent of patients were aware that diabetes could affect the eye. Awareness of ocular complications was associated with education level of the patients and duration of diabetes. Physicians contributed to awareness in 32% of cases and ophthalmologists in 23%. Most (51%) had an eye checkup only when they had symptoms. Majority (72%) were not aware of treatment options for diabetic retinopathy. Eighty-three percent of patients who knew of ocular involvement underwent screening against 31% of patients who did not. Fifty-one percent of patients who were aware of disease complications were on regular follow-up, as against 33% of patients who were not aware. Lack of knowledge was the most common cause (80%) as a barrier to early ocular screening. Conclusions: Awareness of diabetic ocular complications and knowledge regarding eye involvement, treatment, and follow-up are poor. The gap between merely knowing about eye involvement to fully understanding its implications on visual function still remains to be bridged. Hence, campaigns to increase the knowledge of diabetes and its complications should be carried out through electronic, print, and social media. Increased understanding of their disease results in better health-care attitude among patients.

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