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I. Volosko, A. E. Fung, R. Kinast, R. Shaw PhD; Knowledge of Diabetes and Diabetic Eye Disease Among Individuals of Eastern European Russian Descent With and Without Diabetes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):2087.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Knowledge of Diabetes and Diabetic Eye Disease Among Individuals of Eastern European Russian Descent in San Francisco With and Without Diabetes.Objective: To evaluate the knowledge gap and barriers to care for diabetes and diabetic eye disease in individuals of Eastern European and Russian descent living in San Francisco to aid the development of educational measures.
The California Pacific Medical Center IRB granted review and consent exemptions for this study. A Russian language questionnaire was generated to assess knowledge of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and preventive strategies, and distributed at locations including pharmacies, the Jewish home, optometry and physicians’ offices from June of 2009 to August of 2009. Subjects were asked to complete the questionnaire; reading and writing assistance were provided for visually impaired patients. Questionnaires were collected and data transferred into an Excel (Microsoft Corp, Redmond WA) spreadsheet. Normative data were calculated with Excel.
239 Russian language individuals returned completed questionnaires. Respondents reported their highest levels of education as 57% University or higher, 13% high school only, and 28% additional vocational education. Language skills included 16% reporting the ability to read in English or Russian, 83% reading only Russian, and 2% preferring reading in English. Health care was surprisingly available; 94% have primary care physicians (PCP) who speak Russian, and the 6% of individuals whose PCP did not speak Russian did not find language a barrier to care. 90% of diabetic participants had had their eyes dilated in the last year. Knowledge of eye disease as a consequence of diabetes was reported by 76% of diabetic patients, and 64% of those who did not have diabetes. 51% of participants who have diabetes believe that damage done by diabetes can be prevented, while 33% of the same group did not know whether or not the damage can be prevented. 10% of those with diabetes and 4% of those who do not believe that nothing can be done to prevent vision loss related to diabetes. 20% of participants with diabetes, and 10% of those who do not have diabetes believe that if one has good vision there is no diabetic eye disease.
The Russian immigrant population living in San Francisco is highly educated but prefers to learn in Russian. The majority do have access to medical care and receive appropriate referrals to eye care providers if they have diabetes, but more education is needed in the Russian community that blindness from diabetes is preventable with glucose management.
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