PURPOSE: We present the prevalence and determinants of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in persons 40 years and older with diabetes in Qatar. METHODS: This community-based survey was held in 2009 at 49 randomly selected clusters. Demographic details and history of diabetes mellitus (DM) and its management were collected by nurses. Ophthalmologists examined the retina by slit-lamp biomicroscopy using +90 D lens and/or indirect ophthalmoscopy. Digital photographs of retina were obtained. The best-corrected visual acuity of each eye was noted. Diabetic retinopathy was graded as mild, moderate, or severe nonproliferative DR, proliferative DR, or diabetic macular edema. RESULTS: We examined 540 (97.3%) participants with DM. Diabetes mellitus status of 487 persons could be confirmed from medical records. The age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of DR among the diabetic population 40 years and older was 23.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 19.7-27.3), with 8192 cases of DR among patients with DM. Longer duration of diabetes (odds ratio 1.14 [95% CI 1.10-1.19]) and poor glycemic control (odds ratio 1.12 [95% CI 1.02-1.23]) were risk factors for DR. Awareness of regular eye checkup was found in 62% of participants. Only 20% of persons with sight-threatening DR had undergone laser treatment in at least 1 eye. Visual acuity in the better eye was 6/6 to 6/18 in 90% of persons with DR. CONCLUSIONS: Universal and periodic eye screening of patients with diabetes is recommended in Qatar. Health promotion for primary prevention and resource review are needed for early detection and management of sight-threatening DR.
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