Grants

???In many cases, blindness is preventable. We are hopeful that this project will help improve detection of early signs of eye disease and access to follow-up care so more people can avoid vision loss.??? Evan ???Jake??? Waxman, MD, PhD, UPMC Eye Center

PREVENTING BLINDNESS: A SHARD DECISION

Grant Application

Evan “Jake” Waxman, MD, PhD, UPMC Eye Center

 

Proposed Innovation

Prevention of vision loss from diabetes and glaucoma requires early detection and treatment. Both conditions — common among the poor and underserved — are asymptomatic until they cause advanced damage, so screening is crucial. Although UPMC has successfully demonstrated that screening with an internet-enabled robotic retina camera (Guerrilla Eye Service Reconnaissance, or GES) can detect patients at risk of vision loss, many patients fail to see an eye doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

Through a grant from the Beckwith Institute and additional funding from the Eye & Ear Foundation and Pittsburgh Foundation, a GES coordinator will be hired to improve follow-through rates for patients with abnormal screening photos.

 

Improvements in Action

The GES coordinator will work with patients to educate them about the risk of blindness from these conditions and identify barriers that prevent them from completing evaluation and treatment. The coordinator also will help arrange ophthalmology and primary care appointments, and work with these providers to help them understand the barriers that poor and underserved patients often face, including financial and transportation issues.

 

Results – In Progress

This project is expected to demonstrate that a simple intervention can engage patients, families, and primary care team members to improve follow through and save vision. It also will help to identify and remove barriers to screening, follow through and treatment.