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Geoffrey E. Bradford, Rebecca Coakley, Judie Charlton, Serena Morrison, Monique J. Leys, Takaaki Kondo, J. Vernon Odom; Initial Results of an Outreach Program in Underserved, Rural Regions of West Virginia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1442.
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This purpose of this presentation is to present the initial findings of the Appalachian Vision Outreach Program (AVOP), which was recently created through the West Virginia University Eye Institute to improve local vision care to the most underserved and socio-economically isolated populations of West Virginia.
The Department of Health and Human Services includes in its Healthy People 2020 plan the goal that patients with a broad range of vision-threatening diseases receive yearly dilated eye exams. Because West Virginia has a high proportion of low income, underinsured, rural and older citizens with poor access to health care, medical and vision health in the state is poor. WVU Eye Institute as a part of a land grant university seeks to reduce these health disparities.The AVOP identified three medically underserved counties in West Virginia, which have a combined population of about 75,000. Screenings performed by AVOP personnel included an assessment of monocular distance visual acuity (VA), binocular near VA, intraocular pressure (IOP), and obtaining a history of diabetes. A general ophthalmologist staffed clinics to provide complete eye examinations on people identified at risk through an AVOP screening or who requested a full examination.
Screening Results: Of 162 adults screened during 4 sessions at 3 sites, 58 (35.8%) were referred for further assessment. Referrals were based on reduced acuity, increased intraocular pressure or a history of diabetes. 43 (26.5%) had VA of 20/60 or worse. 14 (8.6%) had elevated IOP. 28 (16.9%) had diabetes.Examination Results: 133 adults were examined at 4 clinic sessions at 2 sites. 24 (18.0%) had a significant refractive error, 38 (28.6%) had cataracts, 20 (15.0%) had glaucoma, 2 (1.5%) had macular degeneration, 1 (0.75%) had diabetic retinopathy, and 1 (0.75%) had ptosis.
High levels of undiagnosed and untreated eye disease exist in people who inhabit rural, medically underserved regions of West Virginia. These initial data will be used to further help the AVOP develop at least one local partnering organization in each region and gain the support of local eye care providers to perform screenings and regular eye clinics. Moreover, with its outcomes, The AVOP seeks to improve the vision related health statistics available for use by Healthy people 2020.
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