Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Internet program launched to prevent blindness in diabetic patients


A Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center team is launching a high-tech study to determine if early screening using a special camera and images transmitted over the Internet can prevent blindness in Medicaid patients with diabetes.

"Medicaid patients are rarely screened and are at risk of becoming blind," said Ramon Velez, M.D., M. Sc., the principal investigator. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States and Velez said the study will determine if early referral to ophthalmologists will help.

The project – "I See in NC" – is being pilot-tested at Downtown Health Plaza of Baptist Hospital, where Velez is medical director, and then will be offered to two rural networks of Community Care of North Carolina. One is Central Piedmont Access II, the other is Access III of the Lower Cape Fear. About 2,000 Medicaid adults with diabetes will be asked to participate.

The other networks of Community Care will get the usual treatment, and Velez and his colleagues will determine whether the screening indeed reduces blindness among patients with diabetic retinopathy because ophthalmologists can act early. Diabetes can lead to changes in blood vessels in the retina called diabetic retinopathy.

Digital photography is the key to the proposal. Trained nurses will take retinal photographs using a special digital camera, and the digital images will be transmitted over the Internet and read at a new screening center at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Velez said.

The project is being supported by a $465,034 grant from the Duke Endowment to establish the reading center; a $456,203 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust will pay for the screening in the two networks, and the North Carolina Rural Health Foundation will pay for evaluation.

Velez said Medicaid data would be used to follow the patient outcomes in both the screening group and in the controls.

"Adults with diabetes continue to go blind despite the availability of effective treatment for sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy," said Velez. "These cases of blindness are partially attributable to the low levels of screening. Screening identifies changes in the eye that the patient may not recognize. If treated early, blindness can be prevented."

But, he said, among Medicare patients who have diabetes, more that 30 percent do not get the recommended annual eye screening examination by ophthalmologists. The rate of screening among N.C. Medicaid patients is about 14 percent.

"Primary care physicians rarely perform dilated eye examinations, and the reliability of their examination has been shown to be low," said Velez, a professor of medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a primary care physician himself. "A recent review of diabetic patients at the Downtown Health Plaza showed that fewer than 20 percent reported having been to an ophthalmologist in the previous three years."

He said that taking retinal photographs in primary care settings is a potential alternative to early testing by ophthalmologists. He said that early trials using film or Polaroid cameras had been effective.

"The recent development of digital retinal photography has spurred a movement to employ this new technology with images transmitted by the Internet to central reading centers," Velez said.

He said that in the pilot testing stage, the team is using a Canon retinal camera, acquired through a grant from the North Carolina Lions Foundation. A diabetic retinopathy reading center is being established at the School of Medicine in cooperation with the Department of Ophthalmology. William P. Moran, M.D., formerly head of the Section on General Internal Medicine, is co-investigator.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>