New Screening Saves Vision, Prevents Blindness
September 30, 2015
Diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in America, threatens the vision of over 5 million U.S. adults over the age of 40. Annual eye screenings can identify early symptoms and reduce the risk of severe vision loss by 90% while helping to prevent blindness.
If you are diabetic and do not get an annual eye screening, you are not alone. Only 50% of ARC patients recommended for a screening get one each year, similar to the national average.
Get an Eye Screening During Your Next Visit
You can now be screened for diabetic retinopathy at ARC.
This is the beginning of a pilot program to test if an onsite option encourages more patients like you to be screened.
Retina screenings are now available at ARC Far West, ARC Round Rock and ARC South 1st. These ARC clinics were chosen because they see the highest number of diabetic patients.
How Does the Screening Work?
The eye screening is painless. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and is administered at ARC after your appointment.
An image of your retina is captured using specialized camera technology referred to as IRIS (Intelligent Retina Imaging Systems). The image is securely sent to a team of local retinal specialists. If the screening shows deterioration in the retina, we will refer you to an ophthalmologist to review your treatment options.
“We want you to see an ophthalmologist at the earliest sign of deterioration,” said Anas Daghestani, MD, ARC Director of Population Health and Clinical Quality.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels located in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina). The disease carries few symptoms until it’s too late to treat, often when the onset of blindness is near.
The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you will develop diabetic retinopathy.
If you have diabetes, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you get a retinal eye exam every year. Annual eye screenings can diagnose early vision problems caused by diabetic retinopathy and help prevent blindness.
Saving Vision in Austin and Round Rock
In the first three weeks of patient screenings, 41% had mild to severe diabetic retinopathy, reports Gregg Blair, ARC Project Manager for the pilot program.
Newly diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, these patients can now explore their treatment options preventing further vision problems and, ideally, prevent possible blindness.
“We are pleased with the results so far, which equate to saving vision,” said Gregg.
If you are diabetic and it’s time for an eye screening, make an appointment on MyChart with your doctor today.