Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) has been shown to be the third most observed cause of visual loss in Saudi Arabia. In the Al-Hasa region in particular, the prevalence of DR has been shown to be 30%. Primary health centre (PHC) physicians play a central role in the early detection and prevention of DR. The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding DR of PHC physicians in Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at PHCs in Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire was provided to every participant along with a consent form. Out of 71 centres in the region, 63 were included in this study. The questionnaire consisted of three sections and a total of 18 questions. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21 software program (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).
Results: One hundred forty-one of 209 physicians completed the questionnaire for a response rate of 67%. The mean of overall knowledge score for all participants was 2.6 ± 1.16 points out of four points. Only 34 (24.1%) of the participants correctly referred their diabetic patients according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Additionally, only 52 (36.9%) physicians educated their patients regarding the early detection of diabetic complications.
Conclusion: The present study concluded that there exist gaps in applying the correct guidelines. Physicians' attitudes toward patient education were overall satisfactory. Further medical symposiums and workshops are warranted to teach physicians about diabetic complications and screening schedules, including DR.