Pattern of diabetic retinopathy in Kano, Nigeria

  • A Lawan
  • TB Mohammed
Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy, eye examination, vision loss


Background: The aim of the study is to determine the pattern of retinopathy seen in diabetic patients attending the outpatient clinic in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: Consecutive patients who were attending the diabetic clinic and who consented were examined over a three-month period. Information obtained includes patient’s bio data, type and duration of disease, and findings on eye examination. The fundus was examined with direct and indirect ophthalmoscopes, +90 D with slit lamp and fundal photography. Retinopathy was graded using the International Clinical Diabetic Retinopathy Disease Severity Scale (ICDRDSS).
Results: A total of 214 patients were examined during the study period. There were 88 males and 126 females (M: F = 1: 1.43). The mean age of the study population was 52.14 ± 13.23 years. The mean age of patients without diabetic retinopathy (DR) was 49.14 ± 13.17 years and the mean age of patients with DR was 58.51 ± 10.94 years. Forty nine patients (23%) had insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) while 165 patients (77%) had non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). There was statistically significant difference in presence of retinopathy in patients with IDDM compared to those with NIDDM [X2=29.77 {95% CI}, P=0.000]. DR was significantly more common in patients with disease duration of 15 years or more compared with those with disease duration of 14 years or less [X2= 65.85, {95% CI} P= 0.000]. Based on ICDRDSS scale, 136 patients (64%) had no retinopathy and 78 patients (36%) had retinopathy. Some patients were visually impaired and the cause of blindness was DR in 6 patients (2.8%). Cataract and glaucoma were the cause in 6 patients (2.8%).
Conclusion: Diabetic retinopathy is common in our environment and is more frequent in IDDM and those with long disease duration. DR is a cause of visual disability although diabetic patients are not exempted from blindness from other eye diseases such as cataract and glaucoma. A screening program needs to be developed to facilitate early detection and prompt treatment.

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