A telemedicine pilot that screens thousands of diabetic patients in San Joaquin Valley, Calif., for retinopathy, a condition that causes blindness in about 24,000 U.S. diabetics annually, is being expanded statewide, the Modesto Bee reports.
The program, funded by the California HealthCare Foundation, is being extended to 100 California clinics and aims to screen 100,000 patients.
Under the program, providers at the clinics take pictures of patients' eyes and then send the images to optometrists and ophthalmologists at the University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry. Specialists e-mail the results of the evaluations to the clinics within 24 hours.
More than 12,000 patients from 13 clinics were screened during the two-year pilot, and 15% of the patients were referred for treatment of retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts. About 10% of the patients referred would have gone blind if they had not received treatment, according to program officials (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 12/19).
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