Awareness of diabetes mellitus (DM) and its complications, particularly diabetic retinopathy (DR), is one of the main factors of early detection and improved management. This study aims to assess the level of awareness of DM type 2 complications in a cohort of Jordanian patients, with special emphasis on DR.
A total of 176 consecutive patients with DM type 2 attending the ophthalmology clinic at Jordan University Hospital were included in the study. Each participant responded to a questionnaire which assessed their awareness and behaviors towards DM type 2 and DR.
A total of 176 individuals with diabetes responded to the invitation to participate. They were 93 (52.8%) males and 83 (47.2%) females. Mean age (±SEM) for the study population was 60.6 (±0.82) years. Of all participants, 93.8% were aware that diabetes can affect the eyes. Only 4.5% reported that DR could occur without symptoms and/or loss of vision. Symptoms affecting the eyes were the main cause behind attending the ophthalmology clinic in 60.8% of the cases. The awareness score of participants for DM and DR ranged from 4 to 15 out of 20 with a mean score of 11.4/20. Statistically significant relationships of awareness mean score were observed with gender, educational level, employment status, insurance status, Hemoglobin (Hb) A1c level, and dyslipidemia as a co-morbidity (p<0.05). Binary logistic regression revealed disease duration and HbA1c as the main predictive factors of having DR.
Among this cohort of Jordanian individuals with diabetes, awareness towards DM and DR was relatively low, and patient practices did not correlate with perceived awareness. Awareness scores correlated with HbA1c readings and higher educational levels among other variables. Emphasis on communication strategies and patient education is essential in establishing efficient screening programs and effective strategies to curtail visual impairment and other complications of the diabetes pandemic.

© 2021 Khatib et al.