Diabetes and Retinopathy in the United States
According to the CDC, over 34 million Americans are living with diabetes. Most diabetics will, at some point, develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the retina, resulting in impaired vision—and even blindness. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in US adults. However, this condition is highly treatable, so why are so many people suffering unnecessarily?
Obstacles to Treatment
One of the main difficulties lies in providing adequate screenings for at-risk patients. Retinal imaging is the key to diagnosing and then treating retinopathy, but until recently, such imaging was primarily in the hands of ophthalmologists. Primary care physicians (PCPs), although trained in the use of the direct ophthalmoscope, have not been able to routinely provide the advanced retinal screenings necessary. Those screenings have required more advanced equipment and further training to perform correctly.
However, for many patients, seeing an eye specialist presents an almost insurmountable difficulty. Appointments with specialists usually involve extra out-of-pocket expenses or co-pays, as well as the cost and difficulty of transportation to and from unfamiliar offices that may be farther away or even in different towns. To invest in an appointment with an ophthalmologist on top of routine appointments with a primary care physician can be a significant hardship for patients who are already juggling medical expenses on fixed incomes or who rely on family and friends for transportation assistance. When the appointment is merely for a screening, rather than treatment of a diagnosed condition, many patients will decline.
A Better Way: Retinal Screening by PCPs
But what if there was a better way? What if advanced retinal screenings could be provided by PCPs, at a low cost, and with minimal investment in equipment, training, and office space?
The Optomed Aurora is a highly sophisticated, handheld fundus camera that is affordable, easy to use, and on the cutting edge of retinal imaging. Optomed places the power to quickly and easily perform quality retinal imaging in the hands of non-eye-care specialists, including and especially PCPs, whom patients are most likely to visit—and trust.
The Aurora’s advanced technology combines four important technological factors into one exceptional device:
- Ease of Use: The Optomed Aurora is easy to use and intuitive and requires little training. PCPs and their staff can all be trained to use this device with minimal time and effort.
- Exceptional Image Quality: With a fifty-degree field of view and a non-mydriatic technique, the Aurora’s clear and detailed digital imaging provides world-class retinal imaging that is highly accessible for physicians and patients.
- Portability: A major benefit of the Optomed Aurora is that it is a lightweight, handheld device that’s fully portable. Because of this, the Aurora has been hailed by NGOs and health professionals who travel and work with communities in remote locations. It also makes the Aurora perfect for busy primary care practices, where office space and flexibility are limited.
- Integration: The designers and developers at Optomed understand technology in the medical field. That’s why they built wireless connectivity and seamless software compatibility into the Aurora, allowing full integration with existing EHR systems. This allows providers across the patient’s medical care spectrum to access and evaluate the Aurora’s retinal images.
These factors, combined with its highly affordable startup cost, make the Optomed Aurora a valuable asset to PCPs who wish to provide the best of care to their patients, particularly patients who are at risk for retinopathy. In return, PCPs can benefit from reimbursement for the screenings and from greater clarity and certainty in making referrals to specialists afterward.
Here at Optomed, our mission is to help save the vision of millions of people. By integrating our software and artificial intelligence solutions with our camera, we enable eye screening for everyone, wherever they are. To see how we can equip you to save the sight of more patients, schedule a free consultation today!