What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that can result from chronic, uncontrolled blood sugar due to diabetes. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for developing the disease. Diabetic retinopathy may be classified as proliferative or non-proliferative:
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy: Early stages of the disease and may be asymptomatic. Classified as mild, moderate or severe. Weakening of the small blood vessels in the retina results in fluid leakage into the back of the eye. Symptoms may include blurred vision.
- Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: Advanced stage of the disease. Fluid leakage from capillary damage causes swelling of retinal tissue and the macula (macular edema). Scar tissue formation may cause macular detachment. Symptoms include clouded vision and damage to the optic nerve (glaucoma), due to increased ocular pressure. Severe vision loss and blindness may occur if untreated.
Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pregnancy. Hispanics and African Americans are at greater risk for developing the disease.
People with uncontrolled diabetes are at even greater risk for developing the disease. Because early stages of the disease are often asymptomatic, an annual screening to detect diabetic retinopathy is generally recommended for all type 1 and
type 2 diabetic patients. Early detection can reduce risk for disease progression by up to 95 percent. (With Permission - American Optometric Association)
Reducing Diabetes-Associated Vision Loss Through Expanding Diabetic Retinopathy Screening in Primary Care Clinics
To improve retinopathy screening rates and decrease rates of diabetes-associated vision loss among diabetic members, PHC allocated funding to purchase digital retinopathy screening equipment from EyePACS, LLC, for distribution to primary care clinics. The use of digital screening technology in primary care clinics is an evidence-based intervention that increases access and utilization of preventative retinopathy screening services, and increases the likelihood of early detection and treatment of sight-threatening eye disease.
In 2015, PHC invited contracted primary care clinics to apply for participation in the project, "Expanding Diabetic Retinopathy Screening in Primary Care Clinics." Clinics with a diabetic patient registry of 200 or more were eligible to apply. Six primary care clinics were selected for participation, based on identified need and population impact for PHC diabetic members.
Email: QualityInitiatives@partnershiphp.org (please allow two business days for a response)