The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Clinic was first started by Dr. Monahan with a grant from the Retinal Diagnostic Research Foundation. The first screening clinic was started in January of 2005 with only a couple of patients. The clinic now routinely screens over 20 patients for diabetic retinopathy per month. The clinics are run voluntarily by Drs. Monahan and Dessouki. The Retinal Diagnostic Center provides free staffing and supplies.
The clinic was started in response to the Regional Diabetic Collaboratum of the Tri-County area. These include Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties. The purpose was to increase the number of diabetic patients having screening for diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of blindness in patients under 65. It is modeled after the screening clinic at Valley Medical Center for Santa Clara County.
The Diabetic Screening Clinic will see any diabetic patient referred by his or her doctor regardless or insurance or lack of insurance. All patients are charged the same, $20, for diabetic retinopathy screening. After payment for room rental, the entire residual monies are donated to the Retinal Diagnostic Research Foundation for research and community projects.
The Patient Experience
Patients who are referred by their medical or diabetic doctors for retinopathy screening are scheduled an appointment. All clinics occur on the first Friday of the month. When patients arrive, they provide a history of their medical and eye care. Spanish interpreters are always present. Their vision is checked, intraocular pressure is measured (for glaucoma screening), and their eyes are dilated. They are placed in a room to watch an educational video on diabetic retinopathy as they dilate. Finally, they are seen by a retinal specialist for retinal evaluation. Patients who are not found to have diabetic retinopathy are given literature and asked to return in one year. Those with diabetic retinopathy changes are referred for evaluation to a practitioner in their local community.
A record of the exam and a recommendation are faxed back to the referring physician within 24 hours.
The clinic is held at the Pajaro Valley Trust Diabetic Health Center. This is located across the parking lot from Watsonville Community Hospital at 85 Nielson Street in Watsonville, California.
For a physician to schedule a screening for a diabetic patient, please call our Watsonville office at 831-724-2626, and ask for the Diabetic Screening Clinic.
The Diabetic Screening Clinic is for newly diagnosed diabetic patients or diabetics who have not had their eyes screened in over one year. Gestational diabetics, unless they have already been diagnosed with underlying diabetes, and children who are either prepubescent or who have not had diabetes for at least 10 years, do not require eye screening. Other diabetics who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy should be screened once a year. Once diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed, the patient should be followed by a retinal specialist at least once every 6 months.
Contact: Diabetic Screening Clinic, 85 Nielson Street, Watsonville, CA.
To schedule appointments: 831-724-2626.