Prevalence and severity of diabetic retinopathy with associated visual impairment among type 2 diabetics in primary health care based screening programme in al ahsa district of saudi arabia

Fahad Al Wadani


Diabetic retinopathy is fast emerging as one of the most common cause of avoidable blindness throughout the world. Many studies conducted in various parts of Saudi Arabia have supported this trend. The Ministry Of Health has initiated a vigorous screening programme for the detection of DR among the PHC registered cases on a special form designed for it. This study determined the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy with special attention to the severity and Vision Threatening DR (VTDR). The result of this study will also help in accurately estimating the future burden of the blinding DR and effectiveness of the present screening programme.


A retrospective cross sectional descriptive study was done by reviewing the records of comprehensive ophthalmological examination done on the diabetic patients of Al Ahsa region under the DR screening programme. The records of ophthalmological examination were reviewed during the period of October to December 2016. The case record review extracted demographic, profile of diabetes, vision and fundus examination results.


The overall prevalence rate of DR was 28.65 (95% CI 28.59-28.76) (N= 100). Eighty eight percent (N=88) of them were having diabetic retinopathy in both eyes. The prevalence of Diabetic retinopathy was significantly more in the left than the right eye (28.7 V 27.2, p=.000). The prevalence was significantly more in male than female (34.44% vs 24.24 %, p=.032). Seventy three percent ( N=73), three percent (N=3), five percent (N=5) and one percent (N=1) were suffering from Mild NPDR, Moderate NPDR, Severe NPDR and PDR and end stage Diabetic retinopathy respectively. Thirty two (N=32) were suffering from CSME with various stages of DR. Thirty one percent (N=18) of patients with Mild NPDR, Sixty seven percent of Moderate NPDR (N=2 out of 3), hundred percent of PDR (N=3), twenty one percent of Mild NPDR with CSME (N=3), thirty three of Moderate NPDR (N=5) with CSME, and twenty percent (N=1) of Severe NPDR with CSME were suffering from visual acuity between 6/9-6/18 respectively. Five percent of Mild NPDR (N=3), twelve percent of Mild NPDR with CSME (N=12), sixty seven percent of Moderate NPDR with CSME (N=10), and eighty percent of Severe NPDR with CSME (N=4) were suffering from low vision respectively. One patient with end stage disease was totally blind.


As compared to previous screening, the prevalence of DR in Alhasa diabetic patient is found to be comparatively low. However it might be the reason of the inclusion of 56 % of diabetic patients with shorter duration of diabetes. A good number of diabetic retinopathy especially DR patients with CSME were suffering from low vision which might have been improved by laser treatment.

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