Prepare your patients. Promote retinal health. Prevent blindness.
Over 425 million people worldwide have diabetes, and diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the fourth leading cause of blindness in the world.1 Join ZEISS in raising awareness of the importance of frequent vision screenings and retinal health checks.
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually have no symptoms. The disease often progresses unnoticed until bleeding occurs and affects vision. The lack of prompt or routine retinal health checks increases the risk of permanent vision loss. If diabetic macular edema (DME) occurs, it can result in blurred vision.
In California, three million people are without medical insurance. Even more that that lack dental or vision insurance.1 Many of those affected are among the homeless population, but several others work and live below the poverty level. For them, the cost of preventative care just isn’t in the budget. Progressive diseases, like diabetic retinopathy (DR), are left unchecked—not only because of the financial burden of doctor visits—but because those affected never knew they even had the root cause of DR, uncontrolled diabetes.
With an urgent need to provide for the nearly 1 in 10 Americans who still lack insurance coverage even after the passing of the Affordable Care Act2, organizations like the California CareForce are creating free pop-up medical clinics to bring screening services and patient education to an underserved population.
Katherine Makedonsky, OD, of the ZEISS Dublin, CA optometric clinic and Meike Mack, ZEISS Product Manager, recently volunteered at a vision screening event in the state capital of Sacramento. Using the ZEISS VISUSCOUT hand-held retinal camera and other diagnostic devices, Makedonsky and Mack screened 89 patients of ages ranging from approximately 6-years-old to 90. Among those, 10 referable cases of DR were identified.
Awareness not just about diabetes but about co-existing conditions, like DR, is often lacking among the same low-income and minority populations that are at the greatest risk for developing it. Patient education is a vital part of empowering patients to take charge of their own health.
Makedonsky recounted her experience screening one patient who was aware of her diabetes, but lacked a vital understanding of its progressive effect on her vision.
“We saw a patient with a pretty moderate case of diabetic retinopathy. She knew she had diabetes, but she really didn’t know anything else,” Makedonsky explained. “There were blood spots everywhere in the back of her eye, and we actually ended up taking images on all gazes. We emphasized the importance of sharing those images with a primary care physician and showing that her diabetes was out of control.”
Those patients with positive DR cases and without insurance were referred to low-cost community health clinics and provided information about organizations sponsoring vouchers and financial assistance for more extensive procedures at the end of their screening.
With diabetic retinopathy being the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults3, the need for vision screening and patient education about diabetes and DR is greater than ever. Thanks to caring medical professionals and concerned citizens like Makendonsky and Mack, information and intervention are being made available to those who might otherwise go unserved.
In 2018, CA CareForce provided $1.5 million dollars-worth of free services to over 3,000 Californians. For more information about past and upcoming screening events or to volunteer your time, visit http://www.californiacareforce.org.
To learn more about the ZEISS VISUSCOUT and its application for remote screening, visit: http://www.zeiss.com/visuscout
1 California CareForce Facebook Post. http://www.californiacareforce.org
2 California CareForce Website. http://www.californiacareforce.org
The National Eye Institute recommends five simple steps (TRACK) to help manage diabetes-related vision problems:
Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor
Reach and maintain a healthy weight
Add more physical activity to your daily routine
Control your ABCs-A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Kick the smoking habit
In addition, proactive and frequent eye exams can go a long way in helping diabetic patients preserve their vision. Watch a related video and share it with your patients to educate them on the importance of frequent eye exams.
Clinicians across specialties agree that dialogue and continuous communication between primary care physicians, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and optometrists are crucial for the management of diabetes.
Diabetes is a "head to toe" disease that requires constant monitoring and management. The onset of diabetes may often affect multiple body systems, including vision. The reverse may also be true. The onset of diabetic retinopathy or diabetic nephropathy is often the first indication that the patient is diabetic. This calls for a multi-specialty approach to the management of diabetes.
Watch four clinicians from across multiple specialties discuss the importance and advantages of a team-based approach to diabetes care management.
This is a case of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). High-resolution FA images provide detailed visualization of the retina which is important for PDR – where subtle details inform diagnosis.
To review the case in more detail, download the PDF below.
Multi-modality in diagnostics and imaging are increasingly becoming the standard of care in eye clinics. The ability to assess and compare the data from different modalities provides clinicians a new level of confidence for proposing a treatment regimen that is customized to each patient's individual needs.
As a clinician, your patient is your first priority, and that means providing the best level of care available today. However, that’s not all that is needed. The burgeoning patient population also demands efficiency from doctors and practices, and while the advent of new and better technologies have elevated care for patients, clinicians no longer have the time to log onto multiple platforms to review different sets of data.
Enter the Integrated Diagnostic Imaging platform from ZEISS, the software-driven multi-modality solution that gathers, combines and associates data from different diagnostics devices, improving decision making and efficiency.
Above: Dr. Jean-François Korobelnik demonstrates the value of integrated diagnostics for managing diabetic retinopathy.