Local eye doctors team with Spanish Journal to offer free diabetic eye disease screenings

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By Cheryl L. Dejewski

Diabetes-related eye disease is a leading cause of blindness. And, if you are Latino, you have up to a three times greater risk of losing vision to diabetes than a white person. “Fortunately, the Spanish Journal is helping its readers protect their vision by teaming with our office to offer free diabetes eye screenings for qualified candidates,” says Mark Freedman, MD, of Eye Care Specialists, an ophthalmology practice that has been awarded for its work in serving the needs of Milwaukee’s Latino community.

“Diabetes-related high blood sugar can cause the blood vessels that nourish the retina in the back of the eye to become weak or abnormal. This leads to leaking and bleeding that can blur vision and permanently impair sight,” explains Brett Rhode, MD, Head of Ophthalmology at Aurora Sinai Medical Center.

“All diabetics—Type 1, Type 2, insulin-dependent or not—are at risk for retinal damage. And, the risk increases with time—starting at about 15% for patients with diabetes for five years or less and skyrocketing to 80%  after 15 or more years,” says Daniel Ferguson, MD, a leading area eye surgeon.

“Diabetes-related vision changes often occur so gradually that people don’t notice or take action until the retinal damage (retinopathy) is so far advanced that lost vision can’t be restored. And, even if a person’s vision appears to be good, significant retinopathy may be present and progressing. That’s why annual dilated eye exams are crucial for people with diabetes,” explains Daniel Paskowitz, MD, PhD, an ophthalmologist with credentials from Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

“When treatment is necessary, we have had great success with medication injections that inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels to stop the progression of retinopathy and sometimes even improve vision,” reports eye care specialist Michael Raciti, MD.

Do you have diabetes? Was your last eye exam more than a year ago?

If you can answer “Yes” to those two questions and are NOT already a patient of Eye Care Specialists, call one of their offices below to schedule a FREE diabetic eye disease screening by August 31, 2015.

West Allis 10150 W. 

National Ave. 

414-321-7520

Milwaukee 735 W. 

Wisconsin Ave. 

414-298-0099

Wauwatosa 2323 N. 

Mayfair Rd. 414-258-4550

If a problem is detected during your screening, you can schedule a paid follow up appointment for treatment with Eye Care Specialists or see your own eye doctor. (Follow-up appointments are often covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. If these options are not applicable, arrangements can be made to accept cash, check, credit card or financing plan payment.) Don’t miss this opportunity to protect your vision or that of someone you know.

“Whether you qualify for a free screening or not, EVERYONE should have their eyes checked at least every two years after age 40 for other conditions, like glaucoma and cataracts, that may be causing vision loss without you even noticing it. Call today. We have free educational handouts in both English and Spanish,” says optometrist David Scheidt, OD.

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