MANHASSET, NY – Screenings for diabetes-related eye issues can now be done at a patient’s bedside at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), thanks to a recent donation by the Manhasset North Shore-LIJ Lions Club of a high-tech scope that helps medical professionals visualize intricate areas of the eye.
For people in the US between the ages of 20 and 74, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. Approximately 24,000 people with diabetes lose their vision each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The device, a pan-optic ophthalmoscope, allows medical professionals to better see a person’s retina, retinal vessels and optic nerve with technology that is portable, enabling more patients to get a critical, annual eye exam.
“We’ve had patients with diabetes who go five years without having an annual eye exam and that could be risky,” said Alyson Myers, MD, endocrinologist at NSUH in Manhasset. “Being able to do a quick bedside screening helps us identify people who need to follow up with an ophthalmologist soon. The goal of our diabetes team is to provide all-inclusive diabetes care to patients with an interdisciplinary approach to providing education, medication adjustments and screenings.”
Dr. Myers also noted that visual symptoms of an underlying eye problem often do not develop until it is too late. Tracy Breen, MD, director of diabetes care at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, said that it is troubling that the leading cause of blindness in the US is diabetes, because diabetic retinopathies, or issues with a person’s retina caused by diabetes, are often preventable.
“It has been great to see the impact the Lions have had on improving people’s sight and their focus on diabetes and its relationship to vision disorders,” said Susan Somerville, RN, NSUH executive director.
Marie Frazzitta, DNP, North Shore-LIJ’s director of diabetes education and president of the Manhasset North Shore-LIJ Lions Club, said, “Through the major contributions of our members, the Manhasset North Shore-LIJ Lions Club has been able to make enormous strides in supporting diabetes initiatives such as the pan-optic scope. The mission of the club is to provide resources in the community for the prevention and management of diabetes.”