Awareness and Referral Patterns of Diabetic Retinopathy: A Hospital Based Study NC10-NC12
Dr. Prafulla K. Maharana,
Room No 491, 4th Floor, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi-110029, India.
Introduction: Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) has emerged as an important cause of ocular morbidity and blindness in past 20 years. About one fifth of known diabetics are projected to have DR in their lifetime. Thus awareness about DR is an important determinant in reducing the burden of blindness due to DR.
Aim: To identify the factors that accounts for poor awareness about DR among patients with Diabetes Mellitus (DM).
Materials and Methods: Three hundred thirty cases of DM who were undergoing screening for the first time were subjected to questionnaire to assess their awareness about DR. On the basis of awareness about visual blurring caused by diabetes the cases were divided into two groups, Group I included aware cases and Group II unaware cases. Various factors were then compared between these two groups like demographic profile, literacy level, Socioeconomic Class (SEC), family history, type and duration of DM. All cases were under treatment for DM and majority was on oral hypoglycaemic agents.
Results: The study included 330 cases undergoing retinal screening for the first time. The mean age of the study group was 52.8±11.3 years with 54.5% male and 45.5% female cases. Overall, 226 cases (68.5%) were aware that DM could lead to visual impairment (Group I) and 104 (31.5%) cases were unaware of the condition (Group II). Awareness was more in male patients (54.5%), with positive family history (23%), with higher educational qualification (70%) and those belonging to a high SEC (55.8%). The rate of referral by the first contact physician for routine DR screening was 21.2%. The source of information for most of the cases was print media.
Conclusion: Literacy and SEC are important factors for awareness of DR. Practice pattern among primary care physician also affects the awareness of DR.