A special camera at Mile Bluff aims to improve access to screenings for
one of the most common blinding diseases in the United States, diabetic
retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease.
Diabetic eye disease occurs when diabetes impacts small blood vessels,
damaging the part of the eye called the retina. The disease can cause
the blood vessels in the retina to leak and bleed. If it is not treated
early, it can lead to serious vision loss.
Severe vision loss from diabetic eye disease can be largely prevented through
early screening and treatment; however, many people do not have easy access
to a dilated eye exam. For those patients, help is available locally through
For several years, Mile Bluff has had a special eye camera available at
its UW Health Specialty Clinic in Mauston. Thanks to a grant secured by
the medical center, those sight-saving cameras will also be available
at all Mile Bluff clinic locations starting this summer.
A diabetic eye check is important to protect a person’s vision, and
is also a key part of diabetes care. Those with diabetes have an increased
risk of eye damage from diabetic eye disease. The screening can detect
the condition early before the person notices any changes in vision. Yearly
diabetic eye checks are recommended by the American Diabetes Association.
The test can be performed by a regular eye doctor, but for those who do
not have access an eye doctor, diabetic eye checks are available at Mile Bluff.
In just a few minutes, high-quality pictures of the retina can be taken.
Using telemedicine technology, the images are sent to eye doctors at the
University of Wisconsin - Madison. The images are reviewed and results
are sent to the patients’ primary care providers to inform them
whether or not any eye damage from diabetes has begun. Patients also receive
the results in the mail.
If a patient has an abnormal test result, a list of area eye doctors who
can help treat the condition will be given to the patient. There are many
treatments for diabetic eye disease, including laser treatments and medications
to protect the patient’s vision.
A diabetic eye test is often more affordable than a dilated eye exam with
any eye doctor. At Mile Bluff, patients will need to pay $30 prior to
having the eye photo test. Some insurance plans do cover the cost of the
test, and reimbursement may be given to patients.
To make an appointment for a diabetic eye check, patients will need a referral
from their primary care provider. Once that referral is received, patients
may call any Mile Bluff clinic location to make an appointment. Many times
they can receive the test the same day if they are already at a clinic.
Currently, diabetic eye checks are available only at UW Health Specialty
Clinic located inside Mile Bluff Clinic in Mauston. The cameras are being
installed at all Mile Bluff outreach clinics, and will be available to
patients in Elroy, Lake Delton, Necedah and New Lisbon later this summer.
If you have diabetes and would like access to this sight-saving screening
tool at Mile Bluff, talk to your primary care provider about a referral.
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