College of medicine, King Saud University
Raghad Alrasheed, a 5th year medical student from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.
Objectives: To evaluate the current knowledge, awareness, and to assess practices among primary care physicians working in primary care centers in Riyadh, regarding Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study covering 46 randomly selected primary care centers in Riyadh during October 2015. A Self-administered questionnaire was distributed to primary care physicians containing 3 main sections. The first section focused on participants’ demographics and professional background. The second section contained multiple-choice questions on knowledge related to diabetes and DR. A Score of one was given for each correct answer and zero for the wrong or did not know answers. The last section was to assess physicians’ practices. Data was analyzed using SPSS. Results: A total of 216 general physicians completed the questionnaire. The mean overall knowledge score for all the respondents was 57±14 out of 100. Knowledge was significantly higher for physicians with >15 years of practice (59±13 vs. 54±15, P=0.04). Male physicians scored better than females, 13% vs. 6.7% respectively scored >75. A defect was noticed in area of screening and follow-up of type 1 diabetes, only 24% of physicians correctly referred patients with type 1 diabetes to an ophthalmologist, whereas 71% referred patients with type 2 diabetes as recommended by the guidelines. Another defect area was detected in treatment options. Majority agreed on the use of laser photocoagulation as treatment. However, only 1/5 of participants were aware of the use of steroids and anti-VEGF as possible options. 65% of physicians claimed the capability of using an ophthalmoscope, 74% of them have examined their patients with it. Conclusion: Our study uncovered areas of defects in knowledge among general practitioners regarding diabetes and DR. Therefore; future seminars on diabetes emphasizing the proper ophthalmological screening and management of patients are necessary.