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Zhiqing Chen, Raju P Sapkota, Dingchang Zheng, Shahina Pardhan; The need for early retinopathy screening and improved awareness in diabetic patients in Hangzhou, China.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):79.
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To examine clinical profile and self-help/awareness in patients attending a diabetic eye clinic at Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University.
199 consecutive patients, who had presented themselves with eye problems at the diabetic eye clinic, were recruited. Clinical and other data including demographics, knowledge/awareness about diabetes, the importance of its control, possible complications in the eye, and self-help regimes were collected using clinical records and a structured questionnaire. Proliferative retinopathy and macular oedema were categorized as sight threatening retinopathy (STR).
The majority of patients (80%) had STR in at least one eye. A large proportion (39%) were attending the clinic for the first time as they had noticed that vision in at least one eye had deteriorated. Most patients were type 2 diabetics (91%), 82% were older (>50 years), 48% had had diabetes for less than 10 years and 21% had systolic blood pressure >150 mmHg. Over half of the patients (54%) had best monocular visual acuity of worse than 0.3 LogMAR (5% had worse than 1.00 LogMAR). Despite the fact that they were attending the eye clinic, 28% reported they were not aware that poorly controlled diabetes can lead to STR, and 38% of first time attendees were unaware of any possible treatment for diabetic eye disease. 39% reported that their diabetes was not well controlled or they were not sure. A significant proportion (62%) reported that they had a ‘diabetic incident’ and had to seek help at least once within the last year. 43% reported that they would not be too worried if they forgot to take their medication. STR was significantly associated with males compared to females (chi-square, p<0.05), and to those who had a ‘diabetic incident’ in the last year (chi-square, p<0.05).
Patients present themselves at the eye clinic at very late stages of diabetic retinopathy. This may be due to the fact that there are currently no screening programs or referral systems in place for diabetic retinopathy locally. There is also a lack of awareness of diabetes, the importance of its control and its possible complications. These data highlight the importance and the need for regular screening at primary and secondary levels, as well as the need to increase awareness of good diabetic control in patients.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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