April 12, 2019 Conference
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded two grants for Wills Eye Hospital to perform and study outreach and screening in underserved communities in Philadelphia. In the first project, examinations and treatment were performed in 4 dozen community centers and gathering places across underserved regions of Philadelphia over two years. In the second trial, subjects were screened in primary care offices in a dozen public health centers across Philadelphia and referred to local ophthalmologists. In the second project, screening over 900 subjects led to over 500 subjects being referred for further evaluation of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and other eye diseases. Given the proven issue of retention of patients within the system after positive screenings, half the subjects were assigned a social worker to aid in follow up. Preliminary data shows a dramatic improvement in follow up with the aid of the social worker. Additional findings include a high prevalence of glaucoma and glaucoma suspect, narrow angles, diabetic retinopathy and cataract. Detailed analysis showed that screening could be achieved at relatively modest cost.