According to a recent survey by Johns Hopkins University, many Hispanics in the U.S. who suffer from the disabling condition of diabetes are unaware of a potential complication of their condition: eye disease. The risk is heightened by the fact that they typically do not get regular eye exams which could identify potential problems. The study was recently published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.
The researchers said that they focused on Hispanics due to the fact that they have an especially high rate of diabetes (1.9 times higher than non-Hispanic whites) and the fact that the language barrier impedes some from receiving proper care. One out of every five Hispanics suffers from diabetes and nearly half of those suffer from diabetic retinopathy, which is a condition characterized by blood vessels in the eye swelling and leaking.
During the study, 553 Hispanic residents of Baltimore, Maryland were interviewed by the researchers. Of those 553, 204 suffered from diabetes and 349 did not. Diabetics had a higher likelihood than non-diabetics to be aware of the eye disease as a potential consequence of diabetes. However, only 36 percent of diabetics who had just recently been diagnosed were aware of the eye disease and 52 percent of those who’d known they were diabetic for more than a year knew. Only 30 percent of the diabetics interviewed said they had been to the eye doctor within the past year.