Diabetic Eye Screening Program
Diabetes mellitus is one of the biggest health problems in the world. One of its major complications is diabetic retinopathy (DR), the leading cause of blindness among working adults worldwide.
In the St Vincent Declaration in 1989 it was decided to reduce diabetic blindness in Europe by 1/3. Studies on epidemiology, screening and treatment of diabetic retinopathy clearly showed that vision threatening DR has a recognizable early symptomatic stage for both types of diabetes.
A lot of documented evidence shows that there is effective treatment (laser, injections, surgery) for vision threatening DR. There is also evidence that a diabetic screening program is suitable, reliable to doctors and patients and in the interest of patients and society. Finally, the cost of such a screening program far outweighs the cost to the health system of a country if treatment is delayed or if the disease is left untreated.
Such programs exist in many civilized and developed countries. The doctor found that such a program does not exist in Greece, nor within the National Health System or in the private sector. He strongly believes that a diabetic screening program would significantly help to the timely and correct diagnosis and treatment of these patients (as has been internationally proven).
In cooperation with the OMMA Athens Eye Institute the doctor is implementing an innovative Diabetic Eye Screening Program. The program involves already diagnosed diabetic patients that are monitored by a diabetologist. They may be at any stage of the disease but they should not be already monitored by an ophthalmologist for their diabetes. The program therefore covers the general diabetic population. The aim of the program is to detect the DR in the eyes of diabetics who are unaware of the disease.
Any patient with diabetes that is not monitored by an ophthalmologist and wishes to participate in the program should contact OMMA to make an appointment. On the appointment day dilating drops will be instilling in the patient's eyes. Fifteen minutes later a technician will be taking pictures of the retina with a special camera and then the patient will be able to leave. He should know that he may have blurred vision for a few hours afterwards and he will be very sensitive to light, therefore it is advisable not to drive after the examination. The whole procedure will have no financial burden on the patient.
The photographs will then be evaluated by the doctor with special software and in accordance with international standards and the patient and his diabetologist will be informed of the findings by letter. If the test is negative, the patient will have to renew his appointment for next year. If the findings are positive and there is DR then the patient will be informed by letter and he should seek ophthalmological assistance. In this case he will be removed from our program as he is now officially under ophthalmological care.
We believe that such a program would greatly contribute to the prevention and to proper and timely treatment of diabetes and its eye complications. So we encourage all diabetics who want to participate in this program to simply make an appointment and devote half an hour of their time. Remember: a simple photo could save your sight.