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Clin Exp Optom. 2012 May;95(3):377-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2011.00681.x. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Diabetes and its ocular complications: awareness among adults aged 40 years and older in Timor-Leste.

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The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand.



The aim was to assess awareness of diabetes mellitus and its ocular complications among Timorese aged 40 years and older.


An interview-based questionnaire was administered to a subset of five urban and five rural clusters of 45 people aged 40 years and older as part of a population-based cross-sectional survey.


The participation rate was 96.2 per cent and data were analysed for 413 respondents. Correct nomination of at least one symptom, risk factor, prevention or treatment of diabetes was made by 6.1 per cent of participants. When explicitly asked, 6.8 per cent thought that diabetes caused problems with the body and 3.6 per cent thought diabetes caused eye problems.


There is little awareness of diabetes and its ocular complications in Timor-Leste. Given the predicted urbanisation and economic development in the coming decades, as other health challenges are addressed and resources become available, consideration of diabetes might be prudent. Improving knowledge among the population will be an important component of any strategy developed.

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