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Renee Michelle Rosati, Petra Warren, Adrienne Z Ables, Dalia Meisha; Improving Diabetic Retinopathy Screening for the Indigent Population of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):1579.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Numerous studies have confirmed that Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness in working-age American adults. This study examines access to retinal screening for patients at St Luke’s Free Medical Clinic (SLFMC), Spartanburg, SC and determines the rate at which the patients who were referred for screening have disease. The hypothesis of this study is that patients with diabetes type I and II at SLFMC are not being systematically referred for retinopathy screening.
This was a retrospective chart review of 111 diabetic patients who visited SLFMC from January 2013 thru January 2015. We evaluated the number of patients referred for screening, those patients who actually went for the screening, and the rate at which retinopathy was found in those who went. A HgbA1C value greater than seven percent was considered an uncontrolled glucose level. The IRB Board of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine approved this research.
Of the 111 charts reviewed, 49.5% of patients were referred to an eye care professional from January 2013 - January 2015. 21.1% of these were found to have vision-threatening ocular pathology. 58.6% of the uncontrolled diabetics and 42.9% of the patients with adequate glucose control were referred for an eye exam. 78.4% of patients with uncontrolled glucose levels and 64.3% of patients with controlled glucose levels went to their eye exam if they received a referral. The median number of days between seeing their primary care physician and following up with an eye exam was 28.5 days.
Approximately 1 out of 5 diabetic patients at SLFMC could have vision-threatening pathology that requires attention from an ophthalmologist. A large proportion of patients followed through with their eye exam if they received a referral, indicating the desire to be screened. Due to the transient nature of volunteer physicians at SLFMC, the referral process for diabetic eye exams is not consistent. A more standardized method to screen diabetic patients in the clinic would alleviate the referral burden and ultimately allow for detection of ocular pathology earlier in the course of disease.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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