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Background: Recently eye effects of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) are an important concern due to increase in its trend especially in developing countries.
Objectives: To assess the awareness related to eye effects of DM and its prevention practices among people with diabetes.
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted from January 2013 to April 2013 in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. All 105 people with diabetes from the service area of two sub-centres were included. Data on socio demographic details, history of DM, awareness on systemic complications of DM, effects of DM on eyes, practice on regular blood check-up, eye examination and source of information were collected by interview technique using a structured questionnaire. Univariate and multiple logistic regression analysis were done to assess the association of awareness of eye examination with socio-demographic variables.
Results: Mean age of the study population was 56.7 years. About 93 people with diabetes (88.6%) tested their blood sugar at least once in every 3 months. About 80 people with diabetes (76.2%) were aware of at least one systemic complication of DM. Although 78 (74.3%) people with diabetes were aware that DM could affect the eyes, majority of this group (68, 87.2%) did not know the specific effects of DM on eyes. In this group, about 28(35.9%) people with diabetes were not aware of the reasons for eye effects, while others mentioned that persistent high blood sugar level (n=26, 33.3%), longer duration of DM (n=14, 17.9%) and lifestyle (n=10, 12.8%) were the reasons for the eye effects of DM. Only 31 (29.5%) of them knew that their eyes must be regularly examined. People with diabetes who had post-secondary and above (>10th standard) level of education had significantly higher awareness on examination of eye (Adjusted OR=19.63).
Conclusion: Although awareness of people with diabetes on systemic effects of DM was more, their awareness on specific eye effects and need for regular screening was low. Systematic efforts are required to increase awareness on eye effects and importance of regular screening in this population.
Keywords: Awareness, diabetes, eye effects, India, practice