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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-159

Primary care physicians' knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to diabetic retinopathy in Buraidah city, Qassim region, Saudi Arabia

Department of Ophthalmology, Unaizah College of Medicine, Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdulrahman Abdullah Alasqah
Department of Ophthalmology, Unaizah College of Medicine, Qassim University, P.O. Box 4471 Unaizah 51911
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_46_20

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Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the severe complications of diabetes that can result in complete blindness when it presents late in the course of the disease. The role of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the screening, prevention, and possibly referral of patients with this complication is of great importance. Materials and Methods: An analytic cross-sectional study was conducted in all primary care clinics in Buraidah city, Qassim region, Saudi Arabia. The sampling technique used is convenience sampling. The sample is PCPs (PCPs). Data were collected using a pretested, semi-structured questionnaire with sections for assessment of knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward DR in the PCPs. Results: Out of a total of 106 physicians, 100 have answered the questionnaire with a response rate of 94%, 75% have received postgraduate training. Eighty-seven percent of the PCPs have agreed that an ophthalmoscope is needed in their clinic while only (35%) have agreed that they can do an ophthalmoscopic examination confidently to detect DR in patients with diabetes. Around 23% have disagreed that diabetic patients can have DR despite having a good vision, and only 56% have agreed that pregnancy can actually worsen DR. Conclusions: The knowledge, attitudes, and practices of PCPs are sub-optimal. Dilated Fundus Examination using a slit-lamp ophthalmoscope is the best technique used in the screening of DR. Primary care centers should be equipped with more technologically advanced ophthalmic devices, and tele-screening should be utilized to precisely diagnose DR. Moreover, the communication with and referral to ophthalmology should be done on findings that are suggestive of DR. PCPs should stress the importance of screening to their diabetic patients. Finally, more efforts should be placed to increase knowledge in certain areas like DR effects in pregnant patients.

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