Original Research

An investigation into diabetic patients knowledge of diabetes and its ocular complications in the Western Cape

P. C. Clarke-Farr
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 64, No 4 | a265 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v64i4.265 | © 2005 P. C. Clarke-Farr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 December 2005 | Published: 19 December 2005

About the author(s)

P. C. Clarke-Farr, Department of Ophthalmic Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, South Africa

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This paper presents the findings of a study which evaluated the knowledge of a sample of diabetic patients about their disease and its ocular complications. A comprehensive questionnaire was provided to diabetic patients in the Cape Town metropolitan district and its surrounds. Specifically, the questionnaire aimed to determine the patient’s knowledge of diabetes, their knowledge of the ocular complications of diabetes, the options for its management and treatment as well as a section considering other general information relating to diabetes and its ocular complications. Their subject knowledge about diabetes and its ocular complications was relatively limited as only 42% of respondents knew about the existence of two types of diabetes. Twenty nine percent of respondents believed that diabetes would not affect their eyes. Although 76% of the patients felt it very important to measure their blood sugar and 80% rated blood sugar control as very important, only 37% of the respondents measured their blood sugar on a daily basis. A particular concern was that
although 96% of the respondents felt that it was important to have their eyes checked regularly, only 30% of the respondents stated that they had actually had their eyes checked every year. The results of this investigation support the need for diabetic patients to receive better patient education about diabetes and its ocular
complications. Furthermore, attention needs to be paid to expanding patient access to diabetic screenings and ocular examinations in order to manage this condition effectively.


Community health centres; blood sugar; diabetes mellitus; diabetes education; diabetic retinopathy; diet; health care worker; insulin; ocular complications of diabetes.


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