UW School of Medicine awarded $4.4 million to increase diabetic eye screenings for rural patients

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – A group of researchers at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is leading a trial that could provide more vision-saving eye screenings to rural patients.

According to a news release, the National Eye Institute is awarding the school $4.4 million in grants to increase diabetic eye screenings in rural communities throughout Wisconsin.

It would allow patients to take eye screenings remotely using technology, meaning patients can get their eyes checked by a doctor hundreds of miles away.

“We are working to prevent blindness in patients with diabetes by helping to get their eyes checked for people who may not have easy access to eye care,” ophthalmologist Dr. Yao Liu said.

Liu says about only half of Americans with diabetes currently get their eyes screened on a yearly basis, particularly in rural areas.

Early diagnosis and treatment lowers the risk of severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease by more than 90 percent, the release says.