Purpose: To describe awareness of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) among patients receiving eye care at a tertiary ophthalmic center for diabetic eye disease. Design: Prospective, nonrandomized clinical case series. Methods: One hundred-fifty adult patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) examined between July and October of 2003 for diabetic retinopathy (DR) were surveyed about HbA1c knowledge. Results: Seventy-six (51%) understood HbA1c, 25 (17%) were not sure if they understood, and 49 (33%) did not understand. Patients who understood HbA1c based on duration of DM were as low as two (29%) of seven with DM < 5 years and as high as 17 (55%) of 31 with DM > 15 years. Seventy-six (51%) had proliferative DR, among whom 33 (43%) understood HbA1c, 69 (46%) had nonproliferative DR, among whom 39 (57%) understood HbA1c, and five (3%) had no DR, among whom four (80%) understood HbA1c. Conclusion: Approximately half of diabetic patients surveyed understood HbA1c.
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