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W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center - Salisbury, NC

 

Teleretinal Imaging for Veterans

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Diana Wilson demonstrates the teleretinal imaging exam with Veteran and Charlotte volunteer, Joseph Mitchell.

By Salisbury VAMC staff; photography by Luke Thompson, Medical Media Coordinator
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teleretinal Imaging at Charlotte Outpatient Clinic

Early detection and treatment can help save vision!  It can reduce the risk of blindness. 

Diabetes is the major cause of blindness in working age Americans.  There are 12,000 to 24,000 new cases yearly.  Regular screening and control of diabetes can help prevent major vision loss.  

Veterans receiving care at the Charlotte Outpatient Clinic can be screened the same day as their primary care visit.  Alternatively, an imaging staff member can schedule a visit. 

What is teleretinal imaging?

  • Teleretinal imaging uses special cameras to take images of the lining inside the eye (retina).
  • These images are sent to a VA teleretinal imaging reading center.  An eye care specialist will decide if you need further examination.
  • This has been shown to be a convenient and effective way of screening for diabetic eye disease.

Who should have teleretinal imaging?

  • Patients with diabetes with no history of diabetic retinopathy
  • Patients who have not had any laser treatment for retinopathy
  • Patients with no new eye or vision problems
  • Ask your primary care provider if you need this test

Will my eyes be dilated?

Most people can be imaged without eye drops.  Others will need dilation.  This will show the best view of the inside of the eye. 

How long does teleretinal imaging take?

Most imaging is completed in less than 30 minutes.

What happens next?

After your images are taken, a VA eye care specialist will review them. The results will be sent to your primary care provider.  If signs of diabetic retinopathy are found, you will be scheduled in the eye clinic for a dilated eye exam. 

Does teleretinal imaging take the place of an eye exam?

Teleretinal imaging cannot replace a dilated eye exam.  It is a good way of screening for diabetic retinopathy. 

Why is it important for patients with diabetes to have regular eye tests?

Poor blood sugar control damages the small blood vessels in the lining of the eye (retina).  Blood may leak from the blood vessels and may cause the retina to swell.  Permanent damage may occur and it may lead to loss of vision and blindness. 

Regular eye exams are important for early notice and treatment.  Everyone with diabetes should have a teleretinal screening or dilated eye examination.  Depending on your provider's advice, this should be done every 1 or 2 years.