A new digital imaging and IT system, Digital Healthcare OptoMize iP, aims to dramatically reduce the incidence of diabetes-induced blindness in Staffordshire.
About 42,000 patients in the Staffordshire area are diagnosed as diabetic. The condition can impose stress on the metabolism causing blisters and leakage in blood vessels. The leaked blood affects nerves endings, and the optic nerves are particularly vulnerable to damage.
"After 15 years of being diabetic, around a quarter of patients have some change in the condition of their eye sight," explained optometrist Malcolm Gray, clinical director of Staffordshire Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme. "If we can identify the problems early, we can nip them in the bid by taking action against diabetes, and save patients from blindness."
Control of the patient's diabetes is improved by taking action to alter their weight or blood pressure.
The window into the condition of the patient is the eye, and retinal scans are captured and managed through a system provided by Cambridge-based Digital Healthcare.
The digital imaging and electronic patient record system offers a rapid diagnosis and caters for patient choice. "A photo of your eye is taken, the image is transferred to a central server for clinical analysis and diagnosis. Then if the patient needs referring for treatment, we contact them by post or phone and offer them a choice of one of six hospitals," explained Gray.
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