Aim To determine if the presence of microalbuminuria can be used as a reliable tool to predict the presence of diabetic retinopathy in a paediatric population, where ready access to diabetic retinal screening is limited.
Methods A cross-sectional study design conducted during the period January 2014–August 2014. 69 patients were included in this study and data was collected in three parts: a questionnaire, assessments for urinary microalbuminuria and diabetic retinopathy. The relationship between retinopathy and proteinuria was analysed by Pearson’s Chi Square (c2) test. Fisher’s Exact Test was used to determine statistical significance. Retinopathy and proteinuria were explored against demographics and diabetic history factors using Pearson’s Chi Square (c2). A p value<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results Chi Square (c2) test showed a statistically significant association (p<0.01) between microalbuminuria and retinopathy. A significant relationship was also found between the dependant variables and age (p<0.01), type of diabetes (p<0.01), duration of diabetes (p<0.01) and diabetic control (p=0.043).
Conclusion This cross sectional study showed that there was a significant relationship (p<0.01) between microalbuminuria and the presence of diabetic retinopathy. This data suggests that microalbuminuria can be used as an indicator to identify patients with early stages of retinopathy. The presence of microalbuminuria can be used to stratify ophthalmology referrals within limited resourced settings. This study also showed that among patients with IDDM, longer duration of diabetes and poorly controlled diabetes were at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This reiterates the need for proper patient education about their disease and complications.
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