Objectives: To establish the prevalence and characteristics of self-reported diabetes in a representative sample of Victorian residents aged 40 years and older, and to compare the vision between people with and without self-reported diabetes.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Nine randomly selected suburban Melbourne clusters and four randomly selected rural Victorian clusters.
Participants: 4,744 subjects (86% participation rate) aged > or = 40 years.
Main outcome measures: Subjects answered a detailed questionnaire which provided demographic details, body mass index, and the duration and treatment of any diagnosis of diabetes. Refraction was performed and best-corrected visual acuity was measured.
Results: The prevalence of self-reported diabetes was 5.1%. In a multivariate analysis, self-reported diabetes was positively associated with age (p < 0.01), male sex (p = 0.01), higher body mass index (p = 0.01), Mediterranean ethnicity (p = 0.01), unemployment (p = 0.05) and lack of private health insurance (p < 0.05). People with self-reported diabetes were more likely to have mild or moderate levels of visual impairment than people who reported no previous diagnosis of diabetes (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Diabetes in Victoria is more prevalent among men and among people of Mediterranean origin. When planning educational programs and health service delivery, it is also important to consider that, compared with the general population, people with diabetes are less likely to be employed or to have private health insurance, and are more likely to have impaired vision.