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C. S. Otto, M. Bennett, J. Barnes, S. Barnes, C. Small; Project VISION: Free Mobile Eye Screening Unit Brings Early Disease Detection to Hawaii's Uninsured and Homeless. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2512.
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile screening unit for detecting eye disease in the uninsured and homeless population of Hawai’i. Given the high prevalence of diabetes mellitus in Hawai’i, there is concern that a large segment of the population may already have vision threatening changes that are going undetected. This study also provided an opportunity to screen for other eye diseases such as macular degeneration, hypertensive retinopathy, vein occlusions, glaucomatous optic neuropathy, epiretinal membranes, and cataracts.
A thirty-five foot motor home was converted into a mobile screening facility by retro-fitting it with a Non-mydriatic Retinal Camera. Patients completed an in-processing demographics sheet, had their near vision measured using a Snellen Near Visual Acuity chart, and had digital retina images of both eyes taken without the use of dilating drops. Images were taken back to the clinic, where an Ophthalmologist evaluated them for evidence of any abnormalities. Reports were sent to each participant within 1-2 weeks, indicating the findings and recommending follow-up with an Eye Doctor based on the nature of the findings and time since the last formal eye exam. Those without a local eye doctor were referred to a doctor in their area. Participants with vision threatening conditions were contacted directly by phone to set up an appointment.
Of the 617 participants screened to date, 34.8% had an abnormality in either one or both eyes, and 34.7% of these reported that they currently do not have a local eye doctor and do not have regular eye exams. 15.9% of all participants indicated that they once had medical insurance, while 13.5% said they had no insurance coverage. The age range was 25years old to 72 years old, and the ratio of male to female was 46% to 54%.
This mobile screening unit has proven to be an effective means for discovering unknown eye disease within the population of Hawai’i. The Project Vision Van offers people a way to have free retinal screening exams in a location that is accessible, convenient, and does not require dilating drops. These screenings discovered a significant percentage of ocular pathology in a population that does not often have routine dilated eye exams.
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