According to the National Health Institute, less than 50% of those with glaucoma are aware of their disease. So how do you treat someone for a disease they don’t know they have? You bring the clinic to the people.
That is the idea behind the Penn Sight Savers program. Perelman School of Medicine students and Scheie Eye Institute ophthalmologists hold screenings at Penn basketball games and other community events to check for glaucoma. The screening process is quick and painless. After evaluating vision, optic nerve and eye pressure, the doctors advise those with abnormal symptoms to go in for a more thorough examination. The whole screening process takes about 10 minutes.
“The goal of screening is not to diagnose someone with glaucoma,” said Dr. Prithvi Sankar, an Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology. “The purpose of every screening, whether it’s a diabetic screening or a screening for eye disease, is to find those atrisk and help them take action.”
Screenings also help raise community awareness of glaucoma. The program, which is funded by a grantfrom the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation, benefits the medical students as well as those they examine.