Visual impairment amongst adult diabetics attending a tertiary outpatient clinic
Background: To determine the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy maculopathy and cataract amongst diabetics and the prevalence of visual impairment amongst diabetics attending the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital eye unit. There are no current data in the study area on the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness amongst diabetics. This data is required in planning for screening and prevention of blindness due to diabetics.
Methods: This was a hospital based cross sectional study. Subjects were diabetic patients attending the diabetic clinic. Simple random sampling was used. Demographic was taken. Visual acuity and refraction was done. Slit lamp examination was used to identify cataract. Maculopathy and retinopathy was determined using a 90D Volk lens and an indirect ophthalmoscope.
Results: Non -insulin dependent diabetics constituted 97.1% whilst 2.9% were insulin dependent diabetics. The prevalence of the outcomes measures was: Cataract (23.7%) mild and moderate retinopathy (13.7%) severe proliferative retinopathy (1.8%) maculopathy (6.8%). Prevalence of low vision and blindness was 18.4%. Amongst diabetics 59.1% had no previous eye evaluation. Impaired vision due to cataract was 24.0 % representing a 40% decline in a decade.
Conclusion: The prevalence of visual impairment was high at 18.4%. The reduction in impaired vision due to cataract over a decade is suggestive of either an improved cataract surgical rate or improved diabetic care or both. Majority of the diabetic patients 59.1% had not received prior ocular evaluation. There is an urgent need to have a screening program in this area
Keywords: Diabetics, retinopathy, maculopathy, visual impairment, blindness