Telemedicine to Help Curb Eye Disease

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A grant-funded pilot project gave 13 clinics equipment and training to screen diabetics for eye problems sometimes caused by the disease.

Dr. David Katz is the medical director of Davis CommuniCare Clinic where more than 600 patients got free screenings.

Katz: “It’s a wonderful service for our patients and has saved a number of patients from losing their sight.”

It’s called telemedicine: a clinician takes a picture of the retina and electronically sends it to a specialist for diagnosis. The project is targeting the uninsured Hispanic community.

Lupe Alonzo-Diaz with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California estimates that about 50 percent of Latino children born today will develop diabetes.

Alonzo-Diaz: “I think that it’s a bubble waiting to explode. I think that this is one of those issues where we need to address it now.”

The California Health Care Foundation plans to fund screening of 100,000 diabetic patients statewide. The foundation supports Capital Public Radio’s health care coverage.