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Optical shops roped in for eye-screening

GPs to refer diabetes-related sufferers to them, with rise in vision woes expected

Published on Nov 7, 2012 6:00 AM
 
Family doctors and optical shops are being asked to take part in a new eye-screening initiative as the country gears up for an expected surge in diabetes-related vision problems. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Family doctors and optical shops are being asked to take part in a new eye-screening initiative as the country gears up for an expected surge in diabetes-related vision problems.

Patients will have their eyes photographed by their nearest participating optometrist after being referred by a general practitioner. The move is unusual because these images are normally taken by an eye doctor, rather than staff at an optical shop.

A camera that captures the inside of the eyeball will be used to take the photographs. They will then be processed at a newly set up centralised laboratory, where a team of technicians will analyse them and generate a report in as little as an hour.

Armed with the results, patients can then receive further advice from their GP. For example, some may have to be referred to an eye specialist.

 
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Background story


Injections helped diabetic see better

WHEN his eye problems were at their worst in July, diabetic Thomas Lee (right) had to stop driving at night.

But with the help of regular injections into both eyes, Mr Lee, 47, the superintendent of an oil consultancy company, progressed from being unable to read e-mail and SMSes to seeing things in sharp focus.

Called Lucentis, this jab to treat diabetic retinopathy is new. In the past, diabetics could count only on the conventional laser procedure. About 15 jabs - at $1,200 to $3,000 each - are needed over a three-year period.

More than 1,000 patients have opted for it, said Professor Wong Tien Yin, head of the ophthalmology department at National University Hospital.