by Lisa Countryman
Since 2004 UCSF Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center have operated a mobile eye service, the Eye Van, which provides screening services for underserved patients at eight Department of Public Health Clinics. A few years ago the Eye Van began making stops at St. Anthony’s, and recently those stops became regular, monthly occurrences. SAMC Diabetes Care Coordinator Jaime Martinez expressed what a benefit this is to our patients, “This is a great service because our patients can get their screening done here, rather than wait a long time to get an appointment at General.” Our patients, like so many of the most vulnerable residents of San Francisco suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. With limited access to primary care, low-income, underserved patients often miss out on these preventive, vision-saving screens.
- Conducted by staff from the SFGH Eye Clinic, the Eye Van exams include: a visual acuity check, a pressure check, glaucoma screening, an un-dilated fundus photo and a slit-lamp exam. After the initial Eye Van exam, the optometrist will indicate whether the patient should return to the Eye Van (for yearly screening) or be scheduled for follow-up at SFGH.
Efficient, dynamic partnerships like these help us provide our patients with meaningful preventive services which ensure a better quality of life for all.