Prevalence of Blindness and Visual Impairment among Jordanian Diabetics


Maha I. Al-Till (FRCS)

Ophthalmology Department, Jordan University Hospital

Muawyah D. Al- Bdour (FRCS)

Ophthalmology Department, Jordan University Hospital

Kamel M. Ajlouni (FACP, FACE)

National Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Genetics


Aim: To investigate the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among a population of Jordanian diabetics.

Method: A total of 986 diabetic patients were fully assessed including complete history, examination and laboratory tests. All patients underwent detailed eye examination, which included visual acuity, slit-lamp examination, tonometry, fundoscopy and fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA).

Results: Out of all patients examined, 53.2% were males and 46.8% were females. The mean age and duration of diabetes were 55.3 and 11.9 years, respectively. Of all patients, 93.3% were of type 2 while 6.7% were of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). Over half (50.3%) were on oral hypoglycemic agents, 34% on insulin, and 14.5% on both types of treatment whereas only 1.2% were on diet alone. The mean value for HbA1c was 7.7%. The prevalence of blindness among participants was found to be 7.4%, while 10.1% were visually impaired. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) was present in 64.1%, 37.8% had cataract and 8.7% had undergone cataract surgery. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, visual impairment was significantly associated with age, treatment of diabetes and DR, while only age and retinopathy were significantly related to blindness.

Conclusion: DM is a common disease in Jordan and DR is highly prevalent among our diabetics. National screening and educational programs are highly needed to reduce the risk of blindness and visual impairment among our diabetic patients.

Key words: Blindness, diabetic retinopathy, and visual impairment