Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in the United Arab Emirates: A cross-sectional survey

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Abstract

Background. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes of blindness. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of retinopathy among diabetics in Al-Ain city, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods. The study was part of a general cross-sectional survey carried out to assess the prevalence of diabetes (DM) complications including retinopathy among known diabetic patients in Al-Ain District, UAE. Patients were randomly selected during 2003/2004. Patients completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire carried out by treating doctors and underwent a complete medical assessment. All patients were examined for evidence of diabetic retinopathy by ophthalmologist and their fundi were examined using slit lamp examination and fundus photography of each eye through dilated pupils. Results. A sample of 513 diabetic patients was selected with a mean age of 53 years (SD ± 13.01). Retinopathy was present in 19% (95% CI: 15.1-23.5%) of the study population. Most patients (74%) were not aware of their condition. The disease was more common among males (24.2 vs. 13.9%; p = 0.016), increased with increasing age (p = 0.004) and disease duration (p = 0.0001). Type I DM was a highly significantly contributing risk factor (38.3% for type 1, vs. 16.4% for type 2; p < 0.0001). Retinopathy was higher among patients with hypertension, microalbuminuria, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease and neuropathy. Conclusion. The prevalence of DR in the UAE was (19%) and significantly affected elderly males. Regular screening to detect DR is highly recommended as with the early detection of proliferative retinopathy and timely laser photocoagulation which are known to prevent most of the diabetes related blindness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalBMC Ophthalmology
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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