Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia that results from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Glaucoma is the ocular complication of diabetic illness. In addition to this, retinopathy, maculopathy, ischemic optic neuropathy, extra-ocular muscle palsy, iridocyclitis, and rubeosis iridis were other complications. This study aims to determine the impact of diabetes on visual impairment and blindness among diabetic patients in Ethiopia.
This hospital-based cross-sectional study includes 401 samples of diabetic patients in the University of Gondar Comprehensive Specialized Hospital from January 2017 to January 2019. The multinomial logistic regression model was employed to identify significant differences among the factor variables.
The magnitude of blindness was 32.17%, and the burden of severe visual impairment was 12.46%. Of the total patients, 120(29.9%) were have diabetic retinopathy of whom, 113(94.2%) were blind either in the right, left, or both eyes and 3 (2.5%) had severe visual impairment. One hundred twenty-six (31.42%) patients developed diabetic maculopathy of whom, 117 (92.85%) were blind either in the right or left eye, and one (0.8%) had severe visual impairment. From the whole diabetic patients, the magnitude of glaucoma was 186(46.38%), and from the patients who developed glaucoma was blind visual impairment 127(68.27%) either in the right or left eye. Thirty-eight (20.34%) had severe visual impairment. Glaucoma was significantly associated with severe visual impairment and blindness (p<0.001). Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, maculopathy, and type of diabetes are factors for visual impairment.
We found that visual impairment in the category of severe and blindness are frequent in Ethiopian diabetic patients. Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, maculopathy are the main predictive factors that determine the occurrence of blindness.