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B. E. Munoz, M. O'Leary, M. Aguilar, I. Burguess, E. Rosario, C. Fickes, S. K. West; Does a Novel Community Based Heath Communication Program Improve Knowledge and Eye-Care Seeking Behavior of Latinos With Diabetes?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):1166.
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The Hispanic population in the United States is the largest growing minority community. One in five Latinos over the age of 40 has diabetes and almost half have diabetic retinopathy. Screening and care for diabetic eye disease is vital; it is the leading cause of visual loss among working-age Latinos, yet many do not seek screening for diabetic eye disease.We evaluated the impact of a Health Communication Program designed to increase the knowledge of diabetic eye disease and increase compliance with annual dilated eye exams among Latinos with diabetes residents of Baltimore city.
Latinos with diabetes were identified through surveys, neighborhood clinics and health fairs. Participants were asked about the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes and eye care seeking behavior prior to the initiation of the program (year 2005), and one and two years after the program started. Logistic regression models for repeated measures that included the period in which the interview took place were used to test for trends overtime.
A total 183, 187, and 138 subjects were interviewed at baseline, one, and two years follow-up. There were significant improvements in the proportion of respondents reporting: access to routine care (56%, 67%, and 73%) for baseline, one, and 2 years follow-up respectively (p<0.001); mentioning eye disease as a consequence of uncontrolled diabetes (44%, 66%, and 70%, p<0.001); knowing the recommended frequency of dilated eye exams (15%, 28%, and 42%, p<0.001). In addition, the proportion having a dilated eye exam within the previous years increased overtime (32%, 46%, 62%, p<0.001). However, there were no improvements in the knowledge that diabetic eye disease could be present without visual symptoms, on the contrary the proportion significantly decreased over time (63%, 46%, 36%).
The improvements in both knowledge of diabetic eye disease and seeking eye care suggests the program had a positive impact in the behavior of Latinos with diabetes. However, the program should now concentrate on improving knowledge of the asymptomatic nature of retinopathy in this population.
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