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Mona Kaleem, Valerie Lerebours, John Logan, Juliana Llano, Leslie Jones; The Utility of a Medical Student Run Glaucoma Screening Program. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4406.
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To describe the characteristics of those who participate in a medical student run glaucoma screening program in the Washington D. C. metropolitan area.
The Student Sight Savers Program (SSSP) is a volunteer organization that provides free glaucoma screenings throughout the Washington D. C. metropolitan area. Screenings were performed at local health fairs at community centers. Screenings were staffed by trained medical students, ophthalmology residents, and attending physicians. Participants filled out a questionnaire which asked about demographics, date of last exam, medical history, family history, and understanding of glaucoma and cataract. Visual acuity was measured with a portable titmus vision tester. The Humphrey Portable Frequency Doubling Technology (FDT) was used to test peripheral visual fields. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured with a tonopen, and a direct ophthalmoscope was used to assess the optic nerve. Records of those participating in screenings between September and November 2012 were reviewed.
Complete data was available for 41 of the 83 screened participants. The average age of participants was 47 years. 83% were black or Hispanic. Amongst those screened, 93% reported having medical insurance. One third had routine eye care; 43% were unable to remember the date of their last exam. A family history of glaucoma was present in 22% of participants; 83% had heard of glaucoma, and 80% knew that it was a blinding disease. Average IOP was 16 mm Hg. A glaucoma consultation was recommended for 12% of participants and an ophthalmic consultation based on another finding was recommended for 51%. The leading diagnostic finding was cataract which was present in 15% of those screened. Forty participants indicated that their SSSP screening exam would prompt them to seek routine eye care.
Participants in SSSP glaucoma screenings tend to have medical insurance but most are not receiving eye care. The majority of those attending screenings are identified as having a finding which requires follow up ophthalmic care. This suggests a need for continued efforts to provide community based ophthalmic screenings and education.
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