National trends in the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy among Thai patients with type 2 diabetes and its associated factors from 2014 to 2018

Nathakamol Euswas, Napat Phonnopparat, Kantapat Morasert, Pongpisut Thakhampaeng, Apisit Kaewsanit, Mathirut Mungthin, Ram Rangsin, Boonsub Sakboonyarat
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0245801

INTRODUCTION: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most common and serious ocular complications in both developed and developing countries. To date, epidemiological data of DR and their associated factors in Southeast Asian countries especially in Thailand are scarce. We aimed to use the information from the Thailand Diabetes Mellitus/Hypertension (DM/HT) study to determine trends in DR prevalence and also risk factors among Thai patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

METHODS: A series of cross-sectional surveys of clinical outcomes was conducted annually in 2014, 2015 and 2018 among patients with T2D aged >18 years receiving medical care for at least 12 months. A stratified single stage cluster sampling method that was proportional to the size sampling technique was used to select a nationally and provincially representative sample of patients with T2D in Thailand. A standardized case report form was used to obtain the required information from medical records.

RESULTS: A total of 104,472 Thai patients with T2D were included in the study from 2014 to 2018. The dominant proportion of participants, 70,756 (67.7%), were females. The overall prevalence of DR declined from 6.9% in 2014 to 6.3% in 2015 and 5.0% in 2018 (p for trend <0.001). The independent associated factors with DR included survey year, greater duration of DM, geographic region, hospital level, social security scheme, dyslipidemia, insulin therapy, high HbA1c level and elevated pulse pressure.

CONCLUSION: We reported a decreasing in trend in the prevalence of DR among Thai patients with T2D over one half decade. Patients with T2D should be encouraged to control their underlying diseases and engage in other effective interventions. When these modifiable risk factors can be inhibited, DR and other cardiovascular complications will be alleviated.

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