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B.E. Munoz, M. O'Leary, F. Fonseca–Becker, M. Aguilar, E. Rosario, I. Guardiola, C. Fickes, S.K. West; Knowledge of the Ocular Consequences of Diabetes and Diabetic Vision–Care Guidelines Among Latinos With and Without Diabetes Living in Baltimore . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):329.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Diabetes is one of the most significant health problems in the US Latino population; one in five Latinos over the age of 40 has diabetes and almost half of those have diabetic retinopathy. Knowledge of appropriate care for diabetic eye disease is vital as it is the leading cause of visual loss among working–age Latinos. Our aim is to determine the gaps in knowledge and the perceived barriers to appropriate eye care for diabetic eye disease in the Latino community living in Baltimore
Interviews on knowledge of diabetic eye disease and diabetes eye care were obtained from two groups: a random sample of Latinos 21 years of age and older (N=329), and a cohort of Latinos with diabetes (N=183) living in Baltimore city. In addition to perceived barriers to seeking health and eye care, respondents were asked to list the consequences of unchecked diabetes, what to do to prevent diabetic eye problems from starting and from progressing to vision loss, the recommended frequency of dilated eye exams, and time of their last exam
Only 10% of the respondents preferred English to communicate, and 62% reported providers not speaking Spanish as a barrier to seeking health and eye care. Knowing that eye disease can be a consequence of uncontrolled diabetes was reported by 18% of non–diabetics with no family history, 29% of non–diabetics with family history, 24% of newly diagnosed and 48% of people that had had diabetes for more than one year; although 43%, 74%, 45% and 79% respectively knew that tight control of diabetes helps to prevent eye problems from starting, only 37%, 49%, 14%, and 38% knew that periodical visits to an ophthalmologist were important to prevent vision loss. Less than one third of people with diabetes reported having a dilated eye exam in the previous year. Duration of diabetes, and having a place to go for routine care were significant predictors of compliance with yearly eye exams.
Although the level of awareness of diabetes is reasonable, the knowledge of its ocular complications is very low in the Latino community. Persons with newly diagnosed diabetes and those without diabetes have similar levels of knowledge of diabetic eye desease. These deficiencies need to be rectified with a culturally appropriate health education campaign.
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