Background: Diabetes mellitus is a significant cause of visual impairment, hence adequate knowledge on this condition and its ocular manifestations is of immense importance to diabetic patients.
Aim: To assess the knowledge of diabetic patients on the disorder and its ocular manifestations, and their attitude towards ocular examinations.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey involving the use of a structured interview was conducted among diabetic patients attending the Diabetic Clinic of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Using Fishers Exact Chi-square (χ(2)) and Odds Ratios (ORs), data obtained was analyzed.
Results: Only 103 (26.4%) patients knew the type of diabetes mellitus they were suffering from. Knowledge on ocular effects of diabetes mellitus was low and only 15 (3.8%) knew that it could affect the ocular refraction with no patient mentioning that diabetes mellitus could cause cataract or diabetic retinopathy. Attitude to routine eye examination was poor. As much as 135 (34.6%) had never had an eye examination since being diagnosed of diabetes. Knowledge of the type of diabetes mellitus the individual had or any ocular complication of this disorder was significantly related (OR: 4.22; P < 0.001 and OR: 2.55; P < 0.001) respectively to their attitude to seeking eye care.
Conclusion: Diabetic patients' knowledge on diabetes mellitus and its ocular manifestations, and the attitude of diabetic patients towards eye examination were poor. Intensive health education by diabetes care givers and leaders of the Ghana Diabetic Association for diabetic patient is therefore required to improve attitude towards eye care to prevent visual impairment.
Keywords: Cataract; diabetes mellitus; diabetic retinopathy; ocular manifestations.