Community Pharmacy Centered Rural Mobile Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is considered as one of the leading global causes of blindness. Long-term poor glucose control leads to vascular incompetency, tissue swelling, new vessels formation, and if untreated, to irreversible severe visual loss. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that interventions at the pharmacy level in remote, underserved, and isolated communities contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment of DR and its related complications. Educational programs and telemedicine retinal screening may expand the pharmacist role to provide health education to encourage self-care and complications screening. A descriptive study was performed at six community pharmacies in Puerto Rico. An educational session preceded an interview and a digital image of the retina taken by a trained pharmacist using the transportable i-Optic Easy Scan Camera that uses Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope technology. Images were sent electronically to a retinologist for assessment and appropriate recommendations. Patients took results to their primary physicians and preferred eye care specialist. One hundred and sixty-three (163) individuals participated in the educational session phase. Out of these, 128 (79%) completed the study by proceeding to the interview and digital imaging of the retina phase. Participants mean age was 58.2 years, and 58% were females. Forty (40) participants were classified as having suspected diabetic retinopathy (DR), resulting in an overall DR prevalence of 31%. Background DR (BDR) was identified in 38 (95%) and proliferative DR in 2 (5%) of all the DR classified cases. The study was able to demonstrate that a distant or remote mobile service in community pharmacies is a viable way to provide education and annual eye exams to screen people with diabetes to early identify and treat DR.
author list (cited authors)