Diabetic Retinopathy in Nnewi, Nigeria

  • Sebastian N.N. Nwosu Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi
Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy, incidence, visual loss, Nigeria.


The objective of this paper is to determine the incidence and pattern of diabetic retinopathy in a clinic population of diabetics in Nnewi. All consecutive new patients seen at the Diabetic Eye Clinic, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria, between March 1997 and September 1998 were examined. Examination methods include interviewer-administered structured questionnaire, visual acuity test, external eye examination, refraction, tonometry, gonioscopy, binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp fundus examination with 78D non-contact lens. Data on patients with diabetic retinopathy were analyzed and presented in this report. 33 patients (61 eyes) out of 100 new patients had diabetic retinopathy. Of the 33 patients, 14 did not know that diabetes could cause visual loss; 16 had not consulted any eye health worker. None had laser or vitreo-retinal surgery. Six patients were bilaterally blind and another 6 had uniocular blindness. Visual impairment in the better eyes was recorded in 12 patients. All cases of bilateral blindness in this cohort were due to diabetic retinopathy and its complication (neovascular glaucoma). The severity of diabetic retinopathy is as follows: mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) 23 eyes; moderate NPDR 20 eyes; severe NPDR 2 eyes and proliferative diabetic retinopathy 16 eyes. Vitreous haemorrhage (4 eyes) and traction retinal detachment (8 eyes) complicated proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Concurrent diabetic maculopathy was found in 34 eyes viz: clinically significant macular edema (CSME) 33 eyes; Non-CSME 1 eye. Diabetic retinopathy is not rare in Nigerians. Diabetics should be educated on the ocular complications of the disease. Since laser and vitreo-retinal surgery will reduce visual loss in the patients, these facilities should be provided in eye hospitals in Nigeria.

Nigerian Journal of Ophthalmology Vol. 8, No.1 (August 2000): pp 7-10

KEY WORDS: Diabetic retinopathy, incidence, visual loss, Nigeria.

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eISSN: 2468-8363
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