Relationship between Diabetic Retinopathy and HbA1c in Type 2 Diabetics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Author(s): Khalid M Alabdulwahhab*
Introduction: Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is emerging fastly as one of the commonest causes of blindness. Globally in developed countries over 2.5 million people are blind due to diabetes. The relationship between DR and HbA1c level have been studied by many authors, and almost all the studies were in accord that elevated HbA1c level is significantly associated with the development of DR. However, this relationship has not been studied among type 2 diabetics residing outside the main cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 327 type 2 diabetics attending the primary healthcare centers in Al-Majmaah City, KSA. The data was collected using systematic random sampling technique using direct investigation method.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 54.95 ± 11.65 years. Majority of the patients were males (n=201; 61.4%) as compared to females (n=126; 38.6%). A significant difference was observed in the mean HbA1c level and DR, showing that HbA1c was significantly raised in patients having DR (p<0.001). Result of logistic regression analysis further showed that patients who have uncontrolled diabetes (high HbA1c levels) have 66.61% chance of developing the DR.
Conclusion: There is a strong relationship between HbA1c level and DR. The healthcare provider should empower the patients with knowledge regarding diabetes, its complications and make lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, and weight loss, etc.). The retinal screening should be carried out routinely under the supervision of ophthalmologist.