Prevalence of glaucoma in a tele-screening program for diabetic retinopathy in rural area of Argentina
Purpose: Diabetes is a controversial risk factor for the development of glaucoma. However, including the early detection of glaucoma within tele-screening programs for diabetic retinopathy continues to be a matter of discussion. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of glaucoma in a tele-screening program for early detection of diabetic retinopathy.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed evaluating the number of people with glaucoma within a population with diabetes. Patients who participated in a diabetic retinopathy tele-screening program taken place in the province of La Pampa (Argentina), were included. A questionnaire was performed to verify the presence of glaucoma and the general characteristics of the participants. In addition, visual acuity with and without pinhole, intraocular pressure with a rebound tonometer, and eye fundus using retinography were evaluated.
Results: A total of 2,743 patients with diabetes were included. The prevalence of glaucoma was 5.0% (95% CI 4.3%-5.9%). A higher prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was observed in people with glaucoma (33.9% versus 21.0%, p 0.001). In addition, through the tele-screening program, 314 people with ocular hypertension were detected.
Conclusion: The prevalence of glaucoma within the studied population was higher than in other studies where the general population was evaluated. Considering that blindness due to glaucoma and diabetes is preventable, it is important to consider the association between both pathologies to implement tele-screening programs.
Keywords: diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, telemedicine, blindness, primary health care.