Monday, November 3, 2014

The Need for Annual Eye Exams

I received an email last week from USRETINA. They are offering some free screenings this month of November Diabetes Awareness month. I know my own experience with Diabetic Retinopathy thankfully has been well taken care of. I have lost zero vision except for my night vision. The loss of the night vision is due to laser procedures to address the Retinopathy. I know there is no symptoms of Retinopathy until it shows up. I know when I went back to college just before my Retinopathy showed up. I know the first year I was able to afford to see the optomologist without insurance but the second year of college sadly I had several extra books for class and other unexpected expenses come up. So I could not afford to get my eyes screened. Then I started my job and I was on probation so I limited how many appointments I could go to.

So I had scheduled and eye exam and then the week before my Retinopathy showed up. I know I was told to not worry that it was not moving very quickly and I know my Alc was 5.8 at the time so I know I was well controlled. I know I am glad I choose to do what I needed to do for me. I know my Endocrinologist at the time wanted me to run my Alc much higher but I also know that my choice to run it where I was comfortable is also why today I have lost no vision and currently my eyes look great. I know I am fortunate that I was able to get the care I needed. I was excited that this month they are offering some free screenings.

The website that has links to the locations for where the free screenings is on the below links. Please feel free to share with others. I know there are people who like me wanted to get screened but did not have the means to get access to this kind of care. Annual eye exams are really important the sooner they can address an issue and prevent further damage. I know I wish they had this available when I was in college because the low cost health clinics were very expensive.

Pensacola, FL USRetina, a national association of retina surgeons and practices, is backing a collaborative effort across multiple retina practices and health systems to provide at least thirty free diabetic retinopathy screening events in thirty days during Diabetes Awareness Month in November. US Retina announced the national initiative as eye care professionals and industry representatives gathered from around the world at the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference in Chicago. 
“My colleagues and I are on a mission to reduce and eventually eliminate the leading causes of irreversible blindness in this country: diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration,” said Sunil Gupta, M.D., USRetina Co-founder and CMO. “Payers, primary care providers, and retina specialists are all joining the cause, and this is only the beginning. We want to encourage a national conversation about the practical steps we can take to eliminate Diabetic Retinopathy as a leading cause of vision loss, much like the United Kingdom has done.”
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all patients with diabetes receive an annual eye exam for Diabetic Retinopathy. Unfortunately nearly sixty percent of diabetics go untested each year, leading to unnecessary vision loss for hundreds of thousands of patients each year. The risk of going blind can be reduced by 95% with early detection and appropriate follow-up care.
USRetina practices are teaming up with the diabetes care experts at IRIS: Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems to provide free diabetic retinopathy screening events in communities across the country using automated retinal imaging cameras and an advanced cloud-based grading platform. 
“It all starts with ensuring patients with diabetes receive their annual eye exam,” said Jason Crawford, CEO of IRIS. "With the right technology and solution, patients can be easily and accurately assessed for the presence of Diabetic Retinopathy at the point of care, with the results returned to the patient’s primary care 



  1. The last time I went to get an eye exam, the doctor told me he could not tell from looking at my blood vessels that I was diabetic. 5.8 percent A1c is really good. I had to completely cut anything that tastes sweet out of my diet and exercise an hour a day to achieve that kind of control. Well done.

    1. That is excellent Paul. Hard work can pay off. I know I feel lucky that I still have 20/20 vision even with Diabetic Retinopathy. Thankfully keep my A1c down has helped to keep my condition from progressing further.