Prevent Blindness NC is excited to announce the receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to support the PBNC Adult Vision Screening Improvement Program. The program will serve approximately 40 federally qualified health centers, community health clinics, and health departments and provide direct service screening to approximately 6,000 patients across NC in 2022.
Vision loss ranks among the top 10 causes of disability in the US. Over 250,000 North Carolinians report blindness or severe difficulty seeing even with glasses. These numbers are expected to double by 2050. Risk factors for eye disease include race/ethnicity, age, sex, and having a chronic health condition such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Income, education, neighborhood, and access to care as well as behavioral factors like smoking and physically inactivity also play a role in vision loss.
PBNC’s Adult Vision Screening Improvement Program builds the capacity of NC primary care health clinics to provide an in-house comprehensive vision screening program that can detect potentially blinding eye diseases and refer individuals for professional treatment early – when it is most effective. Cigna Foundation funding will support the following PBNC program objectives:
- Screen diabetic & pre-diabetic patients using state-of-the-art screening tools and telemedicine technology
- Conduct training so clinic staff can screen non-diabetic patients
- Provide vouchers for eye exams and glasses for referred patients in financial need
- Educate adult patients about eye disease, vision problems & importance of eye exams
- Identify social factors that limit overall patient health and access to care
The new funding from Cigna Foundation will allow PBNC to expand partnership with EyePACS to 100% of our 6,000 adult patients in 2022. EyePACS offers access to an experienced team of optometrists and ophthalmologists who read retinal images and provide timely feedback of screening results – bringing the average wait time for results to less than 24 hours versus several days. The program will also begin to incorporate screening for social factors using the NC Healthy Opportunities Social Determinants of Health Screening Questionnaire. These two new program enhancements will enable patients to access results and seek any needed professional vision care faster than ever before as well address additional social factors that present barriers to successful vision health outcomes.
We are enthusiastic about the expansion of this program and hope it helps PBNC screen more people and encourage more patients to seek the vision care they need.
PBNC is currently recruiting screening sites that would like to participate in our adult vision screening program. Contact Wendy at [email protected] for further information.