Year : 2021  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-12

Diabetic Retinopathy in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Magnitude and Risk Factors

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Cross River State, Nigeria
3 Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E. O. Achigbu
Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njo.njo_49_20

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Aim: The aim of the study was to provide an updated review on the prevalence and correlates of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Materials and Methods: A systematic literature search of Medline, Embase, African Journal Online, Africa-Wide Information databases, and Google Scholar for relevant articles was done using a search strategy with key concepts. Studies published between 2010 and 2020 on the prevalence and correlates of DR in SSA were selected. Data on the main study outcomes were extracted into a table based on the study designs. Results: Twenty-seven studies from 12 countries were included. Studies varied in terms of patients’ selection, method of assessing the eye, and retinopathy classification. The reported prevalence range for any DR was 13% to 82.6% and sight-threatening retinopathy 2.1% to 51.4% respectively. Duration of diabetes mellitus and systolic blood pressure were the most common factors associated with an increased risk of DR. Conclusion: There is no recent population-based prevalence of DR in SSA. The available results are however comparable with recent values reported in Europe, America, Middle East, and North Africa. Urgent structured population-based studies on the prevalence of DR are needed for effective public health interventions.

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