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Goh PP, Omar MA, Yusoff AF
Correspondence: Dr Pik Pin Goh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the commonest complication of diabetes mellitus (DM), and is the leading cause of blindness among working adults. Modification of the associated risk factors as well as early detection and treatment of sight-threatening DR can prevent blindness. Clinical practice guidelines recommend annual eye screening for patients with DM. The proportion of patients in Malaysia who adhere to this recommendation was initially unknown.
Methods The Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey is a population-based survey conducted once every decade on the various aspects of health, behaviour and diseases. The DM questionnaire on eye screening was administered as face-to-face interviews with 2,373 patients with known DM who were aged 18 years and older.
Results In all, 55 percent of patients with known DM had never undergone an eye examination. Among patients who had undergone eye examinations, 32.8 percent had the last examination within the last one year, 49.8 percent within the last one to two years, and 17.4 percent more than two years ago. A significantly lower proportion of younger patients and patients who received treatment for DM from non-government facilities had previously undergone eye examinations.
Conclusion The prevalence of DM observed among Malaysians aged 30 and above is 14.9 percent; thus, there is a significant number of people with potential blinding DR. Adherence to eye screening guidelines and the prompt referral of sight-threatening DR are essential in order to reduce the incidence of blindness among patients with DM.
Keywords: diabetic eye screening, diabetic retinopathy
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(8): 631-634