Original Research

Knowledge of diabetes mellitus in privately- funded diabetic patients attending a rural optometric practice in Malmesbury, South Africa*

K. C. Phillips, K. P. Mashige, P. C. Clarke-Farr
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 71, No 2 | a71 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v71i2.71 | © 2012 K. C. Phillips, K. P. Mashige, P. C. Clarke-Farr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2012 | Published: 09 December 2012

About the author(s)

K. C. Phillips, Department of Ophthalmic Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, South Africa
K. P. Mashige, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, South Africa
P. C. Clarke-Farr, Department of Ophthalmic Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

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Abstract

Patient knowledge about diabetes mellitus (DM) and appropriate timely management with respect to the condition are important factors for limiting the complications of the disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge and practices regarding DM, its ocular effects and management protocols among privately-funded diabetic patients. A questionnaire containing questions on these issues and certain demographics was provided to 73 self-funding or privately-funded diabetic patients attending an optometric practice in a rural district of the Western Cape. Respondents ages ranged from 33 to 80 years (mean = 57 ± 11.2 years) and included 59% males and 41% females. Above half(56%) of the respondents knew that there were two main types of DM. Less than half (46%) of the respondents reported having Type 2 DM, 4% reported having Type 1 DM and 49% did not knowwhat type of DM they had. Although 82% of the respondents reported owning a glucometer and 98% knew that controlling their blood sugar levels may help reduce diabetic complications, only 29% measured their blood sugar levels on a daily basis. Most respondents (97%) agreed that DM could affect their vision yet only 37% stated that they had annual eye examinations. A significant proportion of the respondents did not know that DM could cause strabismus (57%), colour vision problems
(44%), cataracts (41%), retinopathy (37%) and contribute to causing glaucoma (63%). Most respondents took their medication regularly and as prescribed (89%) and underwent regular medical
check-ups (82%). However, a large proportion of the respondents did not exercise regularly (61%), had no regular eye testing (63%) nor Body Mass Index (BMI) monitoring (84%) in their manage-
ment of DM. This study indicates that, despite access to private health care, these subjects level of knowledge of DM and its ocular effects was sub-optimal. It also indicated poor self-management
practices of the diabetic patients towards diabetes care and management. Optometrists should form part of a team of health professionals to assist in the management of DM. (S Afr Optom 2012 71(2) 70-77)

 


Keywords

Diabetes mellitus; blood glucose; diabetes education; knowledge of diabetes; complications of diabetes; management of diabetes; practices related to DM

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