The profile of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy in patients attending a specialist eye clinic in Hangzhou, China

Raju Sapkota, Zhiqing Chen, D. Zheng, Shahina Pardhan

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Background/aims To examine the profile of diabetic retinopathy, awareness and self-help in patients attending a specialist eye clinic in Hangzhou, China. Methods A total of 199 consecutive patients with diabetes (mean age = 57 years, SD = 11) attending eye clinic at the School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou were examined in a cross-sectional study. Clinical/demographic data were obtained from patients’ records. Fundus photographs obtained from each patient were graded using Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) criteria; severe non-proliferative, proliferative retinopathy and/or macular oedema (hard exudates/thickening around fovea) were classified as sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR). Optical coherence tomography was used to confirm the diagnosis of macular oedema. Data on knowledge/awareness about diabetes and self-help/lifestyle were collected using a structured questionnaire. Results STDR was found in 80% patients of whom 18% had visual acuity of ≤counting fingers in at least one eye. Male gender, longer diabetic duration and use of insulin were significantly associated with STDR (p ≤ 0.05). Of the total, 41% patients reported that they were attending for the first time. Of all the first-time attendees, 67% had STDR. Also of all the first-time attendees, 14% were unclear whether diabetes affected their eyes. Fifty-one per cent of patients who thought their diabetes was well controlled had fasting blood sugar ≥6.5 mmol/L (p < 0.001). Of the total, 65% patients reported not doing ≥4 hours/week of physical exercise. Conclusions The majority of patients with diabetes presented to this eye clinic suffered with late-stage retinopathy. Our results advocate the need to improve diabetic diagnosis, management and awareness and to set up eye screening for diabetics in Hangzhou, China.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000236
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open Ophthalmology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

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