Prevalence and determinants of diabetic retinopathy in Al hasa region of saudi arabia: primary health care centre based cross-sectional survey, 2007-2009

Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol. 2010 Jul;17(3):257-63. doi: 10.4103/0974-9233.65502.


Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in the urban and rural areas of Al Hasa region of Saudi Arabia and to determine risk factors related to DR.

Materials and methods: This study was conducted on patient attending primary health care centers between July 2007 and June 2009. A retrospective chart review was conducted on subjects with diabetes mellitus greater than 18 years old. Ophthalmologists examined DR status through dilated pupils by using direct, indirect, and slit lamp bio-microscopy. Frequencies, percentage, and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Odd's ratio was used to associate DR with possible risk factors. A P value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The prevalence of DR among 473 diabetic subjects was 30% (95% CI: 25.80-34.20). The odd ratios (ORs) of DR among diabetic residing in an urban area was significantly higher than diabetics residing in rural areas [OR = 1.94 (95% CI of OR 0.82-2.89)]. DR was associated to the duration of diabetes (adjusted OR = 1.70), uncontrolled blood sugar level (adjusted OR = 1.96), hyperlipidemia (adjusted OR = 2.04), and hypercholesterolemia (adjusted OR = 2.80).

Conclusions: DR appears to be a public health problem in the Al Hasa district of Saudi Arabia, and a planned approach is required to avoid severe visual impairment in patients with diabetes mellitus. Primary prevention and early detection could be implemented through primary health centers and non-ophthalmologists.

Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus; Diabetic Retinopathy; Prevention of Blindness; Primary Health Care Centers.